A new threat to the Endangered Species Act is looming, as the Bush/Cheney administration seeks to strip this 30-year-old protective legislation. As announced earlier this week, the new proposal would “severely limit scientific review by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service of projects that could harm imperiled wildlife.” (Defenders of Wildlife)
The plan will also drastically limit the ability of these agencies to consider how greenhouse gas emissions from projects like highways, dams, mines, oil or gas drilling and practically any other activity would effect polar bears, wolverines, and other wildlife. Under this new plan, the independent agency that is proposing an activity regulates itself; leaving no checks and balances for ensuring wildlife and the environment are protected. This lack of independent review will most likely work in the favor of the organizations seeking to perform the activity, especially since most have no biologist or other qualified staff to make an environmental assessment.
“Even worse, the new regulations would impose a brief 60-day review period for agencies, making it even less likely that anyone involved in the process will have the time or expertise to fully evaluate the potential harmful effects of a given project on sensitive wildlife or the habitat it needs to survive.” (Defenders of Wildlife)
These changes to the Endangered Species Act are set to take effect in less than 30 days and Americans have only until Sept 15th to comment for the record. What’s more, changes will not have to be passed by Congress.
If this disturbs you as much as it does me, please visit http://www.nrdconline.org/campaign/protect_endangered_wildlifeorhttps://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1161&s_einterest=C3C4to send a message to the Department of the Interior.