Image via Denver Arts
The reversals from Bush era environmental policy keep on comin'. In the latest, Obama has effectively suspended a midnight ruling from the Bush administration that let groups like the Army Corp. of Engineers and the Federal Highway Admin break ground on new projects without having to check with experts on whether or not they'd be threatening endangered species by doing so. The ruling could've put numerous species in peril—but evidently, not on Obama's watch.Obama has issued a memorandum stating that once again, federal agencies must consult with experts from the Fish and Wildlife Service before proceeding with projects. That means they've got to check in and evaluate the status of endangered species in areas where projects are planned--which could go a long ways in protecting threatened animal populations.
The president didn't entirely throw out Bush's ruling, which was made in December 2008 before he left office, but is having staff review it. In the meantime, however, agencies will have to follow pre-endangered-species-be-damned (unless-they're-in-Hawaii) Bush protocol.
And that means checking in with the wildlife biologists before laying down that new highway with those big stimulus bill bucks.
That's why it's especially good news that Obama checked into the endangered species ruling o early in the game—with so many new federal projects primed to get a jump start thanks to the stimulus, endangered species across the country could have been put at greater risk. Remember, there's $50 billion dollars worth of new roadwork and highway projects about to get moving—hopefully this new mandate will keep endangered species out from under the great stimulus bill steamroller.