Truth to Power

Animals catch a break

Obama shelves Bush-era species rule

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Tuesday shelved a Bush-era rule that critics say weakened protections for animals and plants protected by the Endangered Species Act.

“We should be looking for ways to improve it, not weaken it,” Obama said of the Endangered Species Act. He spoke at an Interior Department ceremony to mark the department’s 160th anniversary.

In December, the Bush administration finalized regulations that allow agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm animals and plants listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The Bush-era rule reduces the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have performed for 35 years. It also prohibits federal agencies from assessing a project’s contribution to global warming when they evaluate its effect on species.

The Bush administration argued its rule would streamline development requests without harming wildlife.</em>

Because heaven forbid anything as trifling as a living thing get in the way of “bidness”.


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