A little over a week ago, a memo from the Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Interior surfaced that seeks to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act by essentially limiting the law’s scope to those places where imperiled species are presently struggling, eliminating any need to actually restore such species to their former range. This shouldn’t really come as a shock, but it should wake people up to the clear view of this Administration: “Nature can go to hell!”. Here’s a teaser from an AP article last week and the link to the full story:
Tired of losing lawsuits brought by conservation groups, the Bush administration issued a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act on Friday that would allow it to protect plants and animals only in areas where they are struggling to survive, while ignoring places where they are healthy or have already died out.
The opinion by U.S. Department of Interior Solicitor David Bernhardt was posted with no formal announcement on the department’s Web site.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall, contacted in Washington, D.C., said the new policy would allow them to focus on protecting species in areas where they are in trouble, rather than having to list a species over its entire range.
That would make it easier to take the gray wolf off the federal threatened species list in Montana and Idaho, leaving it to the states to manage. And it would leave it listed in Wyoming, where the state has yet to adopt a protection plan that satisfies the federal government, Hall said.
“I think this will be a good tool from a biological standpoint,” he said. “I think a lot of species might be affected in the future, especially species that are wideranging.”
But Kieran Suckling, policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, said the new policy was a sophisticated effort by the Bush administration to gut the Endangered Species Act by ignoring the loss of species from their historical range, making it easier to deny endangered species listings.