Image from Thomas Roche
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," seems to be the Bush administration's running mantra -- especially as it relates to environmental issues. After seeing its previous attempt to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list thwarted by the last minute interjection of a Montanan federal judge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to push back by reopening for public comment its 2007 proposal to delist the species (never mind that the judge called the agency's first attempt "capricious" and "arbitrary"), according to the Washington Post's Joel Achenbach. The agency rationalized its "good science-based" decision (their words) by trotting out its wolf "recovery" coordinator, Ed Bangs, to state that, "[t]he position of the service is, we think the wolves no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act," and that it should be left up to the public. The new comment period will open on Tuesday and last until November 28, after which the agency's officials could quickly remove federal protections for the wolf in most of the northern Rockies; management for the species would be subsequently turned over to the states, as per the Endangered Species Act's dictate.
Several environmental groups, such as Earthjustice, which took part in the first successful effort to beat back the administration's attempt to delist the wolf are considering filing a lawsuit anew if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves to eliminate the protections.
This, on top of its other efforts to gut the ESA and remove mountaintop mining protections, signals that the Bush administration has decided to go all out during its final months in office in attacking and systematically undermining key environmental legislation. Let's hope the courts and advocacy groups are able to keep their damage in check.
More boneheaded Bush environmental decisions
Another Endangered Species Gets Shafted
Bush Administration Actively Gutting Environmental "Magna Carta"