Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and his department finalized rules last Thursday changing the way it administers the Endangered Species Act, enabling other government agencies to decide on their own whether a project would harm an imperiled species without an independent scientific review.
They will eliminate some of the mandatory, independent reviews that government scientists have performed for 35 years on dams, power plants, timber sales and other projects, a step that developers and other federal agencies have blamed for delays and cost increases.
Opponents say the move destroys the checks and balances that have helped the government save hundreds of species from extinction under the 1973 law.
"As the Bush Administration fades off into the sunset, it continues to take brazen pot shots at everything in sight, including America's landmark conservation law, the Endangered Species Act," said the House Resources Committee Chairman, Nick Rahall.
~~My question to Kempthorne who says, "Nothing in the regulation relieves a federal agency of its responsibilities to ensure that species are not harmed," is thus, who will now provide the unbiased view? The unbiased, unaffiliated opinion?
Hours after Thursday's announcement, three environmental groups, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco seeking to halt regulations that they say are inconsistent with the act.
The regulations don't require federal agencies to seek consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service before approving projects, the lawsuit said.
So, in other words, under the new regulations, the federal agencies would have the discretion of deciding whether or not to ask for a consultation and opinion. They can do what they want, basically, so more logging, powerplants, dams, condos, and freeways, can be put up alot quicker and with alot less RED TAPE. (Red tape = polar bear habitat, wetlands, rivers, etc. You know that stuff in the way of the paved parking lot they want to put in.)
So once again, the tally widens. Bush - 4500, animals and their habitat - 0
How long until he leaves again??