The Bush administration may be wallowing in the midst of undeniable lame duckness, but its recklessness is still alive and well. To borrow a term used frequently in the recent presidential campaign, Bush seems nothing less than “hell-bent” on stripping the Endangered Species Act of much of its muscle.
Yesterday, Dec. 11, President Bush announced a new series of regulations allowing industry to subvert many of the act’s guidelines, further endangering species ostensibly protected under the act. The regulations include exempting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and oil and gas drilling. Tens of thousands of logging, mining, road-building, and development projects are also being exempted from Endangered Species Act review, allowing the agencies proposing the expanded logging and mining to conduct their own reviews. Additionally, federal regulators would be barred from enforcing the protection of the recently declared endangered polar bears and Florida corals.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the administration within minutes of the announcement. Together with the Defenders of Wildlife and Greenpeace, the center is pleading that the court declare the new regulations illegal with due haste.