President Obama today asked federal agencies to consult with wildlife biologists over decisions that may affect threatened or endangered species.
Yes, I also have trouble believing that sentence had to actually be written. Bush, in December 2008 (just killing time until retirement) issued a rule to allow federal agencies to decide if the construction projects they were overseeing put endangered species at risk without consulting with the scientists who might actually know something about the potential environmental impact of the projects.
While Obama has not officially overturned the rule, he has ordered a review
“Until such a review is completed,” Mr. Obama wrote, “I request the heads of all agencies to exercise their discretion, under the new regulation, to follow the prior longstanding consultation and concurrence practices” involving the Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The Sierra Club approves:
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 animals.
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.