| Save the Endangered Species Act
||[Dec. 16th, 2004|12:58 pm]
Save the Endangered Species Act|
The Endangered Species Act is, itself, endangered. Sad irony for me, but funny to the Bush Administration, I'm sure.
Two bills were passed by the House Resources Committee passed earlier this year: H.R. 1662, "Endangered Species Data Quality Act of 2004" (formerly the "Sound Science for the Endangered Species Act Planning Act"), and H.R. 2933, the "Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2003." Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) is hoping to bring these highly damaging bills to the House floor yet this year.
Congress is expected to return to Washington after the elections for a "lame duck" session during which we all will have to be ever vigilant. Moreover, even if these bills do not make it to the House floor this year, you can bet that Mr. Pombo and his allies will make a big push to get them passed in 2005.
The situation in the Senate is not much better. Members of the Environment and Public Works Committee are working on an Endangered Species Act bill that could be helpful or harmful for endangered species; since the language has not been provided for public comment, it is too early to say. However, even if the Senate Endangered Species Act bill turns out to be good for wildlife, it will most likely be altered and made more damaging in conference with the House.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration has been busy slicing away at Endangered Species Act protections outside of Congress. From new pesticide and forest regulations that try to exempt the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service from the important checks and balance of getting approval from wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for projects that may harm listed species (as required by the ESA) to overwhelming politicization of science in regard to wildlife listing and critical habitat designations, this administration has shown it is no friend to endangered fish, plants, and wildlife.