Sunday, March 23, 2008

Another Unsurprise

President George W. Bush has put fewer plants and animals on the Endangered List in seven years than his father did in one year. His Interior Department found all sorts of canny ways to manage this negative accomplishment according to this article in today's Washington Post.

Controversies have occasionally flared over Interior Department officials who regularly overruled rank-and-file agency scientists' recommendations to list new species, but internal documents also suggest that pervasive bureaucratic obstacles were erected to limit the number of species protected under one of the nation's best-known environmental laws.

The documents show that personnel were barred from using information in agency files that might support new listings, and that senior officials repeatedly dismissed the views of scientific advisers as President Bush's appointees either rejected putting imperiled plants and animals on the list or sought to remove this federal protection.

Officials also changed the way species are evaluated under the 35-year-old law -- by considering only where they live now, as opposed to where they used to exist -- and put decisions on other species in limbo by blocking citizen petitions that create legal deadlines.

The excuse offered by the Interior Department? They've been too busy defending lawsuits against the department for failing to list new species. How's that for an Alice In Wonderland explanation.

The result has been the loss of several species, and the article listed a couple of them. Of course, there's no way to get an accurate count, nor to determine what those losses will lead to as the ecology is altered by those losses. But the argricorps and land developers are happy: they haven't had to deal with those pesky environmental issues under Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

The irony of one delisting will, of course, be lost on the administration which doesn't do nuance: that of the American Bald Eagle in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, even though there are only 50 breeding pairs instead of the desire goal of 500.

Heckuva job, Dirk.

303 days.

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Blogger Mr.Murder said...

Remind people who badmouthed environmental Dems that if Jimmy Carter had not acted the Bald Eagle would be gone already.

3:23 AM  

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