Bush administration seeks to cull Endangered Species Act
March 20, 2007
After losing a series of lawsuits to protect endangered species, the Bush administration moved to reinterpret the Endangered Species Act so that it would only apply to areas where species are at risk, not areas where they are thriving or have already disappeared.
The announcement was posted by U.S. Department of Interior Solicitor David Bernhardt on the department’s Web site last Friday.
Environmental groups have already said they plan to challenge the decision, according to The Associated Press.
“It’s just so clearly illogical and anti-wildlife that I can’t wait to get this before a federal judge,” the AP quoted Kieran Suckling, policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, as saying. “They are rewarding industry for driving populations extinct. Because as soon as you drive a population extinct (in a certain area) it is no longer on the table. It no longer counts toward whether a species is endangered.”
Suckling estimates that the change “would remove 80 percent of the roughly 1,300 species from threatened and endangered lists.”
“Say I’m an irrigator,” Suckling was quoted. “Say there are 10 fish in a stream. That’s a terribly low number. Someone looks at that and they would say the fish is imperiled. I’m going to go kill those 10 fish. Now they are part of the historical range, not the current range. It doesn’t count.
“This policy will do more to promote the purposeful killing of imperiled species than anything else this administration has ever done.”
This article is based on an AP report