A Bush Administration Policy Adjustment

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Knowing many US citizens would be thinking about, you know..Earth, on the upcoming Earth Day, perhaps mid-March seemed like a good time to refresh some US Federal environmental policies. Associated Press, via MSNBC (March 28, 2007 ):- "Tired of losing lawsuits brought by conservation groups, the Bush administration issued a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that would allow it to protect plants and animals only in areas where they are struggling to survive, while ignoring places they are healthy or have already died out. The opinion by U.S. Department of Interior Solicitor David Bernhardt was posted with no formal announcement on the department's Web site on Friday." A spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson is quoted as saying the new policy would remove 80 percent of the roughly 1,300 species from threatened and endangered lists. We assume that by that characterization the Center spokesman means that, on average, up to 80% of the population totals for endangered species would be unprotected: an odd Earth Day present if this is even close to correct. Suppose such a policy had been in place when the Bald Eagle was originally declared endangered? More from the Tucson spokesman: "...as soon as you drive a population extinct (in a certain area) it is no longer on the table. It no longer counts toward whether a species is endangered." On the otherhand, if you live in northern Minnesota hey, and wolves eat your dog or cat, you might feel good about the unprotected option. Bam! Image credit: Micheal Melford, National Geographic.

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