President George Bush is moving ahead with a new plan to strip away key protections for endangered species to finalize the changes before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. The plan is to remove scientists and experts from using their pesky findings and data to prevent development.
These changes have been denounced by lawmakers and environmentalists as a gutting key protections for endangered species at a time when we are seeing more species being pushed to the edge of extinction.
Bush officials are tired of scientists and experts raising dangers to these animals or their ecosystems. The solution: get rid of the scientists. Bush would eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, allowing the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself it is likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants. This is the same President who, in this first term, ridiculed the findings of his own scientists as based on “junk science” of global warming. It also follows controversies where the administration removed scientific findings that conflicts with its opposition to environmental protections on climate changes.
It is a move that will seal the legacy of this Administration as demonstrably the most hostile to the environment in history. Ironically, Bush’s father was not viewed as hostile and moved some important environmental legislation. Once again, the fact that Bush is the most unpopular president in modern history appears to have emboldened the Administration with a “nothing to lose” attitude. These last minute efforts are not just bad form for a president (Clinton, by the way, showed the same bad form), but seek to frustrate the results of the recent election.
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