Kerry Calls Bush 11th Hour Endangered Species Roll-Back "Dangerous"
As Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) represented the Congress at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, President Bush yesterday issued 11th hour revisions to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations that will seriously threaten wildlife and plants while preventing the law from being used to combat global climate change.
Kerry called on the Bush Administration to end their last-minute push for regressive environmental policies on their way out the door.
"The election of Barack Obama and this week's climate change conference made it clear to the world that on the environment and climate change, America is going to act like America again. It seems the Bush Administration didn't get the memo," said Kerry. "These eleventh hour last minute changes roll back essential protections for endangered wildlife and weaken our hand in the struggle against global climate change. If President Bush stands by these dangerous changes, the 111th Congress will end them once and for all."
The Bush Administration's changes would eliminate the 35-year-old practice of asking scientists to independently review federal projects such as power plants or oil and gas drilling to deem them safe for plants and animals. The changes also ban review of how a project's contribution to global warming affects wildlife habitats.
On August 25, Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), along with five other senators, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Dick Kempthorne urging the Secretary to withdraw the proposed changes to the ESA or, at minimum, extend the inadequate 30-day comment period on the far-reaching regulatory changes to at least six months.
On October 14, Kerry and thirteen other senators sent another letter to Secretary Kempthorne strongly condemning the proposed changes to the ESA that appeared in the Federal Register on August 15, 2008.
"If adopted, these changes would seriously weaken the safety net of habitat protections that we have relied upon to protect and recover endangered fish, wildlife and plants for the past 35 years," the senators wrote in the letter. "We urge you to withdraw the proposal."