Editorial: Endangered Species Act in danger
"In May, the Bush administration reluctantly listed the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The facts left it with little choice: the bear's Arctic Sea ice habitat is melting because of global warming. But the administration wasn't happy, because the Endangered Species Act was never intended to be an instrument for coping with climate change. Our sympathy was limited, since President Bush spent his entire time in office resisting the adoption of laws that would have been better suited to combating greenhouse gas emissions. But we agreed that the Endangered Species Act was the wrong tool for the problem.

Now, however, in what is ostensibly an attempt to deal with this polar bear mismatch, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has proposed a rules change that would undermine the law's fundamental work. Mr. Kempthorne suggests far-reaching changes to the consultation process between the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service and other agencies. The changes would render the process meaningless and put all protected species at risk. Currently, an agency building a highway has to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the project is "likely to adversely affect" a listed species. If a determination is made that such harm is likely, the service conducts a more rigorous review of the project and issues a detailed opinion on its effects. It is in this give-and-take between the various agencies and services that modifications are made that allow projects to go forward while minimizing the harm to animals and to trees and other plants."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Endangered Process (The Washington Post 8/20)

Even More Opinions:
Editorial: A regulatory scam (The Seattle Times 8/20)
Editorial: Bush administration goes too far on Endangered Species Act (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 8/20)
Editorial: An endangered act (The Gainesville Sun 8/10)
Larry Schweiger: Lame duck Bush takes aim at Endangered Species Act (The Tucson Citizen 8/20)
Editorial: Improper threat to the Endangered Species Act (The Concord Monitor 8/20)
Editorial: Gutting species act invites trouble (The Daily Inter Lake 8/19)

Related Stories:
Editoral: Bush undermines Endangered Species Act (8/13)
Interior proposes endangered species change (8/12)