Obama administration restores scientific review of federal agency projects
As part of his environmental agenda, President Barack Obama announced in March he would order a review of a regulation approved late last year by the Bush administration that severely weakened the Endangered Species Act.
The prior administration turned its back on animals and plants in December by giving federal agencies permission to ignore input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service when constructing dams, highways, parking lots and other projects. The reasoning was that many federal agencies have their own scientists, but those individuals donâ€™t necessarily specialize in wildlife and habitat issues.
Thankfully, that wrong-headed regulation has now been reversed.
As announced last week by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, federal agencies will again have to adhere to the protection of endangered species the way they did before the Bush administration. That means consulting with federal fish and wildlife experts before shovels go into the ground.