Obama Bringing Science Back to ESA


Obama Restores Crucial Provision of the Endangered Species Act

Marking yet another reversal of President Bush’s environmental legacy, President Obama has issued a memo restoring rules requiring U.S. agencies to consult with independent federal experts to determine if their actions might harm threatened and endangered species.

Obama said his memo would “help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act.”

In December 2008, the Bush administration changed a longstanding practice under the Endangered Species Act by issuing rules that allowed agencies to move ahead with projects and programs without seeking an independent review by either the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the memorandum would have a tremendous impact. “Endangered species are breathing a deep sigh of relief today,” Suckling said. “The consultation process is the heart of the Endangered Species Act power. By reversing Bush’s attempt to deregulate the consultation process, Obama restored oversight and balance and has given endangered species a good fighting chance of survival.”