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For Immediate Release, April 28, 2009

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

200,000 Citizens, Members of Congress, and Scientists Call for Secretary
Salazar to Rescind Rules Weakening the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Conservationists, scientific organizations, and Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will join together today on Capitol Hill for a press conference to call on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to rescind two rules passed in the final days of the Bush administration that weaken the Endangered Species Act. One exempts thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act. The other expressly bans federal agencies from examining the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on the threatened polar bear, despite the fact that the species was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2008 due to global warming.

In March 2009, Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, giving Secretary Salazar the authority to rescind both regulations if he acts by May 9. He has not yet revoked, or indicated an intent to revoke, the rules.

“Secretary Salazar should immediately rescind both regulations and close the door on Bush’s anti-endangered species, anti-science legacy,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most successful environmental laws, and it must be restored to its full power.”

Responding to rumors that Salazar would strike down the general, nationwide regulation while keeping the polar-bear-specific regulation in place, Suckling said: “It would be a hollow victory to strike down the national regulations but leave the polar bear exemption in place. If the Bush regulations are not struck down, the polar bear is likely to be the first large mammal to go extinct due to global warming in the United States. It is on the front line of the global warming crisis and needs every bit of help we can muster to save it.”

At the press conference, letters from members of Congress, citizens, conservationists, scientists and others all calling for the rules to be rescinded will be gathered and submitted to Secretary Salazar, including:

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