Proposed Rewrite of the Endangered Species Act

Last night driving home I heard this report on my local NPR station.  Yea, I'm one of those....

Apparently the Bush43 Administration has taken it's sights to rewriting the Endangered Species Act.  As you can imagine, it isn't a warm and fuzzy rewrite that a progressive, an outdoors person or a sportsman could love.

The title of the NPR report is "Rewrite Would Weaken the Endangered Species Act" by Elizabeth Shogren.

From the report it appears that friendly federal employees slipped the report to some environmentalists they knew because they were concerned.  Thank god for that.  Still some good people left in government.  Here's a few of the juicy parts:

"Kieran Suckling, from the Center for Biological Diversity, says some of the documents are dated last month. And the most important document was dated last June, but updated recently.

"But if you look at the editing trail," he says, "you can see that those documents also were last edited in February of this year. So despite the administration's attempt to say this is all old stuff and it has nothing to do with what we're doing today the paper trail clearly shows they're very current."

Many of the proposals spring from lawsuits the government lost to environmental groups in recent years. Environmentalists say the proposals taken as a whole would gut protections for rare animals and plants, and help a whole range of industries from construction to hydroelectricity.

John Kostyack, of the National Wildlife Federation, says a lawsuit filed by his group probably inspired one of the proposals. The case was about whether the government should require dam operators to protect endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

"The administration lost because they were arguing that they were not responsible for the very endangered condition of the salmon," he says. "And as long as their project didn't worsen that very endangered situation, then they had no responsibility. The court said no."

The judge ordered the government to find ways to better protect the salmon, but Kostyack says under the new proposals that obligation would disappear. The government could keep giving industries permission to do things that harmed species, even on public land.

"As long as you weren't worsening an already bad situation, you have no responsibility," Kostyack explains."

Not Cliff Notes, but you get the idea.  I'm not surprised to see this administration flouting a law, a judge, the land, and any fish in the water.  But I was somewhat taken aback because with the current Democratic Majority in both the House & the Senate, where would this ever get off the ground?

And you see that's why I'm writing this.  I just don't know that these rewrites need approval of other elected bodies.  I figure many of you out there would know though.  So, take a moment from the Kyle Sampson day and read something about the land we live in.  If it hacks you off just enough, link the NPR article into an email to every elected official you know.  Environment is a curious beast in that it isn't only progressives who want to keep it healthy.  Some very conservative friends of mine do too.  Granted, they're outdoors folks.  They camp, they fish, they hunt.  I'm happy to have their help in this matter as we are seeing with much the rest of this Administrations misplaced priorities.  We're all in this together and the only thing thats going to save us is if we all work together for it.  Corny, I know, but true.  Enjoy now.

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    Report Raps Interior Official Over Leaks (none / 0) (#1)
    by kindness on Fri Mar 30, 2007 at 09:03:10 AM EST
    That's the title of the report in my version of the SF Chronicle today.  It has yesterday's dateline but I live out in the sticks so I don't always get the most current stuff in my paper.  Basically it says that:.

    "The department's deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks acknowledged releasing information that was not supposed to be made public to organizations such as the California Farm Bureau Federation and Pacific Legal Foundation, according to the agency's inspector general.  Environmentalists and other critics contend Julie MacDonald undermined federal endangered species protections. In the report by Earl Devaney, Interior Department officials describe MacDonald as a political appointee bent on manipulating science to fit her policy goals, which they said favor developers and industry.  The report said MacDonald:

    _Removed more than 80 percent of almost 300 miles of streams that were to be protected to help bull trout recover in the Northwest's Klamath River basin.

    _Tried to remove protections for a rare jumping mouse in the Rocky Mountains based on a questionable study.

    _Pressured the Fish and Wildlife Service to alter findings on the Kootenai River sturgeon in Idaho and Montana so dam operations would not be harmed.

    Officials said his office began investigating after an anonymous complaint in April 2006 that MacDonald acted unethically and illegally when she "bullied, insulted and harassed the professional staff" of the Fish and Wildlife Service to alter scientific evidence.  "A lot of that is true," Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall is quoted as saying in the report, adding that he has been in a "running battle" with MacDonald since he took over the service in October 2005."

    Looks like this is going to be my Environmental diary.

    Worst...Enviro President...Ever (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 05:32:07 PM EST
    The League of Conservation Voters keeps score on this sort of thing and the Bushie's performance are the lowest ever by far. Money making by extractive industry trumps life on earth EVERY time with these creeps.

    Originally I feard dumbya because of the judges (none / 0) (#3)
    by kindness on Mon Apr 02, 2007 at 09:00:09 AM EST
    he could install at the Supreme, Federal & Appeals Courts.  I knew he'd be awful environmentally, but I didn't view the Republican party as being as openly hostile to environmental issues as little King George is.

    I still don't think the party is, I just see that the party is more than willing to subvert itself and it's more reasonable members interests, instead of telling dubya he's driving us all off a cliff to satisfy the business communities desire for profits at the expense of us all & the planet.


    The bush adm... (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 10:41:31 AM EST
    is in the business of detroying the environment for profit. I don't know where these a-holes think they are going to live; some other planet? Well, we only have the one. The bushies are a disgrace to us all.

    What's really sad is that the first environmental (none / 0) (#5)
    by kindness on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 12:25:44 PM EST
    President was probably Teddy Roosevelt...a republican.

    I can understand those who don't trust government to be sceptical of requirements, I can't understand them being openly hostile to something that makes life for their kids and grandchildren better.  That isn't progress.  That's just selfish greed, denial & uncaring of anyone else.  I just don't get it.


    Well, I guess... (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 12:51:09 PM EST
    greed trumps health (other people's health that is).  I can't tell you how angry I get when I walk into a classroom and see all those kids with all those damn "puffers." How sick do we have to get before the govt and the bankers take the environment seriously.

    Thank the Sun God for Teddy.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 03, 2007 at 02:15:29 PM EST
    regardless of his stance on other issues, I have no doubt our pristine national parks would have been logged, mined, or paved over long ago if it wasn't for Teddy.

    We owe him and his fellow conservationists a great debt...hopefully the current greed-mongers in charge don't undo all his good works.


    Feinstein's... (none / 0) (#8)
    by desertswine on Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 03:30:14 PM EST
    Second Annual Endangered Species Day.

    May 18th.

    I hadn't checked in on this one for a while. (none / 0) (#9)
    by kindness on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:10:00 AM EST
    Thanks for the posts.  I know that in our current Constitutional Crisis that we face every day with dubya/darth that it's so easy to overlook the land we live on, the air we breath & the water we drink, oogle & play in.

    It's tough covering all the bases when we're confronted by so may horrors.  Stiff upper lip.