[env-trinity] Los Angeles Times March 3 2009
bwl3 at comcast.net
Tue Mar 3 10:49:16 PST 2009
Endangered Species Act change under review
Obama may reverse a Bush-era revision that loosened environmental rules for
Los Angeles Times - 3/3/09
By Jim Tankersley
Reporting from Washington -- The White House will announce today that it is
reconsidering another controversial last-minute environmental rule by
President George W. Bush, an Obama administration official said Monday
The Bush-era rule loosened the way the Endangered Species Act guides federal
projects, such as roads and dams. The
change, finalized in December, eliminated a requirement that federal
agencies consult with experts about potential effects on endangered plants
and wildlife before allowing projects to go ahead. Instead, federal agencies
can determine on their own whether their projects would harm protected
A major spending bill speeding through Congress includes language that would
empower President Obama to reverse the rule. Without congressional action,
the administration would need to undertake a lengthy process to roll back
The move is Obama's latest step toward reversing Bush's environmental
policies. Shortly after his inauguration, Obama ordered all pending Bush
regulations to be frozen, including the loosening of some air quality
standards and the removal of the gray wolf from the endangered species list.
Obama's Interior Department has canceled oil and gas drilling leases near
national parks and paused efforts to open coastal areas for drilling and
Mountain West oil shale for development.
Obama also directed the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its
denial of California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from
automobiles. The EPA will hold a public hearing this week, which could
result in the state imposing stricter regulations on automakers.
The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Nick J. Rahall
II (D-W. Va.), lauded Obama on Monday night for moving "to restore the
protections for endangered species that the Bush administration spent so
many years trying to undermine."
Environmentalists said Bush's decision removed a crucial layer of protection
for endangered species. Business and industry lobbyists countered that it
eliminated unnecessary delays in projects without harming species.
Then-Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne admitted that the move divided
Interior officials. The new Interior secretary,
C0%2C2173204.story> Ken Salazar, said in a January interview that he wanted
to reconsider the rule.
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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