Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Protection For Our World

One of the arrogant criminal acts of the formerly occupied White House was removal on consideration for other species when the U.S. wanted to occupy a space of its choice. We had as a nation showed wisdom and a caring policy when it came to our use of resources, prior to the war criminal cabal.

President Obama has returned this country to that behavior, and it is a shining moment for us as a country.

Today President Obama will restore rules requiring U.S. agencies consult with independent federal experts to determine if their actions might harm threatened and endangered species, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified, marking yet another reversal of President Bush's environmental legacy.

In December 2008, the Bush administration changed a longstanding practice under the Endangered Species Act by issuing rules that allowed agencies to move ahead with projects and programs without seeking an independent review by either the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Environmentalists and scientists said this shift could allow agencies to press ahead with plans that could hurt already-vulnerable species across the country.

Today Obama will issue a presidential memorandum, an administration official said, that will direct departments to yet again consult with the two agencies on decisions that could affect imperiled plants and animals "while the Interior and Commerce Departments review the Bush rulemaking."

The move, the official said, "will restore the status quo ante and allow the Interior and Commerce Departments to determine whether a new rule should be promulgated that will again codify the longstanding consultation practice under the" Endangered Species Act.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-W.V.), who had decried the Bush rule and had been trying to reverse it through the legislative process, hailed Obama's decision.

"I wholeheartedly support the president's proposal to restore the protections for endangered species that the Bush administration spent so many years trying to undermine," Rahall said in an interview. "It is one more indication that the new administration truly represents change for the better and is committed to the protection of our natural resources and our environment. I think we know who would have been the winner in this fox guarding the hen house scenario advanced by the Bush administration, and it would not be the hens."

The President just visited the Interior Department, congratulating the department on its work and commemorating its founding 160 years ago. With the return of care for our fellow creatures, he made this a glorious occasion.

Of course, there are the neanderthals who think shooting wolves from helicopters is sport, and this sort will try to head off any return of reason or enlightenment. There is a sort of subhuman attitude that gets its kicks from the rape of the natural world.

Democrats in Congress are attempting to reverse the rule via legislation. House Democrats wrote a provision into a spending bill that passed last month, leading Republicans to cry foul.

"This is a backdoor maneuver to create vast new climate change powers without any public comment or involvement of the American people," said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Senate has yet to act on the issue.

Since taking office six weeks ago, Obama has directed his Cabinet to reverse or review four Bush-era environmental and energy rules. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has shelved drilling plans off the East and West coasts, as well as on federal land in Utah. He also shelved a plan to open up areas to oil-shale development. Those plans will be reviewed, he said.

And Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, last month agreed to review whether it should regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, portending a major reversal of the Bush administration's policy on global warming.

As some one who had the privilege of working with Senator Ralph Yarborough on the first legislation to give federal protection to endangered species, I take great pleasure in having the respect for our fellow creatures returned to this country. It will be a real improvement in our relationship with the world, and with other countries.

This is a moment of great improvement for our country in its place in civilization.

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