he would undo last-minute changes made by the Bush administration to
the Endangered Species Act. The changes, made in December 2008, would weaken and limit the use of the landmark wildlife
protection law, according to scientists and attorneys at the Natural
Resources Defense Council.
The NRDC and other environmental groups issued statements about Obama's decision.
Andrew Wetzler of NRDC:
Obama’s announcement will allow this landmark law to do what it was
intended: protect our nation’s endangered plants and animals. Reversing
the Bush administration’s midnight action will restore protections for
our last wild places and species. Throughout his campaign, the
president committed to restoring scientific integrity to our
government. Undoing the last administration’s damage to the Endangered
Species Act will enable scientists to work with federal agencies and
ensure that new projects do not harm threatened wildlife.”
Carl Pope of the Sierra Club:
Today's announcement marks the
unequivocal return of science to the agencies that govern our fish, wildlife,
and natural resources. The Bush rules would have allowed
agencies with little or no wildlife expertise to make decisions that could mean
life or death for animals like the polar bear. When it comes to protecting
wildlife, we should listen to the scientists who spend their lives studying
These midnight regulations represented
all the disdain for science and political trumping of expertise that
characterized the Bush Administration's efforts to dismantle fundamental
environmental laws.Our wildlife are clearly in much better
hands now. President Obama is bringing science back into decision-making.
Michael Bean of the Environmental Defense Fund:
"Today's action by the President to restore scientific oversight of
federal agencies in order to protect endangered wildlife is another
example of President Obama righting environmental wrongs created by his
predecessor. It is also another indication that science is once again
respected within the White House.
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"The President's decision fits squarely within his authority to
direct federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) on all projects
that may affect endangered species, a practice customary in previous
administrations. With this action Mr. Obama has restored the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and NMFS to their rightful authority as scientific
advisers to federal agencies and has signaled that the Endangered
Species Act, like many of the plants and animals it protects, is on its
way to recovery."
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