On March 4th, Barack Obama announced that he is rescinding last-minute rules set out by the Bush Administration eliminating the necessity of consulting with scientists before going ahead with projects that could harm endangered species.
Under the Bush Administration, agencies such the Department of Transportation or State or Federal building projects for dams could decide whether these projects endangered species, without consulting with scientists.
“Today I’ve signed a memorandum that will help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, a process undermined by past administrations,” Obama said to applause.
“The work of scientists and experts in my administration … will be respected. For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation’s most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it — not weaken it.” (Barack Obama)
“Bush, who battled with environmentalists for years over his polices on climate change and other issues, drew further criticism at the end of his term for issuing “midnight regulations” that were viewed as ecologically unfriendly.”
“Today’s announcement marks the unequivocal return of science to the agencies that govern our fish, wildlife, and natural resources,” said Carl Pope, executive director of environmental group Sierra Club.
“The Bush rules would have allowed agencies with little or no wildlife expertise to make decisions that could mean life or death for animals like the polar bear. When it comes to protecting wildlife, we should listen to the scientists who spend their lives studying these animals.” (Carl Pope, executive director of environmental group Sierra Club.)