March 2009

The Endangered Species Act, our country's most important wildlife law has survived the despicable assault of the Bush administration. President Obama has directed all federal agencies to once again consult with independent scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine if their actions might harm threatened and endangered species. This action will limit the damage caused by the last-minute Endangered Species Act regulations put in place by the Bush Administration in December 2008. The undoing of the Bush's rules means that thousands of potentially species-harming federal activities exempted from independent review -- including activities generating greenhouse gases -- will again be the rightful subjects of scientific scrutiny by federal agencies. A full defeat of all of Bush's rules may require more action by the new administration. The Senate is now considering a bill that would let the Obama administration, with a single pen stroke, rescind all of Bush's Endangered Species Act changes and a special rule weakening protections for the polar bear.

This action demonstrates President Obama's commitment to protecting America's endangered species and the habitats that both people and wildlife depend upon. This action will help restore the credibility and objectivity that is science. The numerous acts of the Bush administration that put politics ahead of science were unconsciousable. It is now apparent that science has regained its proper place in the governmental decision-making process.