Press Room

Administration Finalizes Plan To Gut Species Protections

"The swan song of this administration is par for the course: special treatment for special interests at the expense of sound science and conservation. Despite a public outcry and signals from Congress and the President-elect that this plan should be reversed, the Bush administration is determined to put the proverbial foxes in charge of the hen house.

"We urge President-elect Obama and Congress to exercise their authority and reverse these destructive changes to the Endangered Species Act."

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The Bush administration finalized a plan today to change regulations under Endangered Species Act (ESA) to eliminate the requirement for consultation with federal biologists on projects that could affect imperiled animals and plants. The plan allows action agencies (e.g. the Department of Transportation) to decide for themselves whether projects they permit or license might harm endangered species.

During the public comment period, Audubon submitted a 12-page analysis examining the federal government's own data and specific examples from around the nation, leading Audubon to conclude the proposal is "based on false assumptions, unsupported by data, and [is] otherwise fatally flawed."

President-elect Obama will have the authority to reverse the regulations and last summer his campaign said the proposal was "highly problematic." Congress also can stop the plan from taking hold by exercising its authority under the Congressional Review Act.

The strongest federal safeguard against the extinction of bird species in the United States is the ESA. Enacted in 1973, the ESA has helped save some of America's most critically imperiled birds and wildlife, including species like the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon, the gray wolf, the grizzly bear, and the whooping crane.