Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Procedure and policy

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post a month or so ago about how, without actually changing the law, the administration can influence how it is used.

With little-noticed procedural and policy moves over several years, Bush administration officials have made it substantially more difficult to designate domestic animals and plants for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Although the administration cannot avoid the public initiation of the listing process it is fairly amazing that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne had not declared a single native species as threatened or endangered when this article was written. He has since broken his unblemished record with the Polar Bear.

Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said, in a ruling in late January:

"If the [Fish and wildlife] Service were allowed to continue at its current rate, it is hard to imagine anytime in the near or distant future when these species will be entitled to listing. Such delay hardly qualifies as 'expeditious progress' and conflicts with the purpose of the ESA to provide 'prompt action' [if there is] substantial scientific evidence that the species is endangered or threatened."

Take a read of the article, it's interesting stuff. If you have a strong stomach and want to read the views of red-blooded and blue-blooded America on the endangered species act and the Bush administration then take a look at some of the comments.

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