Before leaving office, the Bush administration issued two regulations intended to (1) remove the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an independent, scientific watchdog over potentially species-harming federal projects like timber sales, mines, and dams; (2) exempt all greenhouse gas-emitting projects, including coal-fired power plants and federal fuel efficiency standards, from Endangered Species Act review; and (3) specifically ban federal agencies from protecting the imperiled polar bear from greenhouse gas emissions. These policies eviscerate the central Endangered Species Act process — Fish and Wildlife Service oversight — that has protected endangered species for 35 years, and they exclude the greatest future threat to endangered species — global warming — from consideration under the Act.
Thankfully, on March 11, President Barack Obama signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill giving Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar 60 days to rescind the Bush rules with the stroke of a pen and restore our nation’s most critical and successful wildlife protection law to its former glory.
Secretary Salazar must act by May 9, 2009, or the regulations will stay in place — and it’s far from guaranteed that he will. Please take action today: Let Salazar know that you want the Bush extinction regulations rescinded immediately.