Hundreds of Species Endangered by Bush Administration Proposal

August 12, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
Sean Crowley, (202) 572-3331-w,
Michael Bean, (202) 572-3312-w,           
(Washington, DC – August 12, 2008)  A proposal by the Bush Administration that would allow federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects would harm endangered animals and plants would seriously weaken protection for rare wildlife, according to a leading conservation group. According to a draft of the proposed new regulations obtained by the Associated Press, the regulations would allow many federal projects to bypass the mandatory, independent reviews that independent scientists have been performing for 35 years. The proposed changes do not require approval by Congress.
“This disastrous proposal makes about as much sense as eliminating homeland security at airports,” said Michael J. Bean, an attorney who is chairman of the wildlife program at Environmental Defense Fund and the lead author of  “The Evolution of National Wildlife Law” (Praeger, 1997), a comprehensive analysis of federal wildlife conservation law. “Sure, it would make air travel more convenient, but it would put passengers at greater risk, just as this proposal would put wildlife at greater risk.”
“The very agencies that have often resisted efforts to adjust their projects to accommodate the needs of rare wildlife would now be put in charge of deciding whether any adjustment is needed,” concluded Bean. “Although the Bush administration claims its proposal would make only narrow changes to existing regulations, these unprecedented changes would have broad consequences, imperiling hundreds of endangered species nationwide.”