Obama halts Bush endangered species rule

March 3, 2009

(ChattahBox) — President Obama is ordering federal agencies to once again consult with endangered-species experts before moving ahead with construction projects, overruling another rule change made by the Bush administration, right before he left office.
The presidential memorandum signed yesterday, which marks yet another reversal of President Bush’s environmental legacy (or lack there of), will revive a long practice under the Endangered Species Act that calls for agencies to consult with either the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on whether their projects could affect imperiled species. On Dec. 16, the Bush administration allowed agencies to waive such reviews if they decided, on their own, that the actions would not harm vulnerable plants and animals. We all know how well these agencies do without supervision.

Obama’s memo will be in effect, until the Interior and Commerce Departments can reconsider the Bush rule change. It does not explicitly overturn the Bush rule.

The move is Obama’s latest step toward reversing Bush’s last ditch attempts to run interference for the oil industry. Shortly after taking office, Obama ordered all pending Bush regulations to be frozen, including halting efforts to open coastal areas for drilling, canceling oil and gas drilling leases near national parks, reversing the loosening of some air quality standards and the return of the gray wolf to the endangered species list, among others.


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