Conservation Groups Not Letting Bush’s Endangered Species Act Go Unnoticed
This is at least the fourth time I’ve heard someone refer to the Bush administration’s proposed regulation on the Endangered Species Act as the “fox guarding the henhouse.”
It’s not just because endangered-species workers love animal analogies. It’s because the new rule gives government agencies the power, sans oversight, to decide for themselves whether their own projects violate environmental law.
The public comment period on the Bush plan ends Tuesday. Over the past few days, 120 conservation groups have sent in about 100,000 angry comments opposing the rule change, reports Reuters. They say the plan is a scheme to gut the 35-year-old law.
Bush’s Interior Dept. says the goal of the proposed regulation is to cut red tape impeding government projects.
The one thing that’s clear is that the rule would fundamentally change the way the Endangered Species Act is implemented. If conservation groups decide that the change violates the law itself, the Interior Dept. can likely expect a lawsuit if its rule is approved.