Bush Is Pushing Hard to Gut the Endangered Species Act
The Associated Press reported yesterday that, as part of its long-fought campaign to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Bush administration is pushing a last-minute regulatory change that would significantly weaken the ESA:
The rules would eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, [by allowing] the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself whether a project would be likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.
At today's White House press conference, a reporter asked if the Associated Press had accurately described the proposed regulatory change. Perino responded first by saying she didn't have the documentation with her, but suggested that the rule change would have little effect because the ESA doesn't help protect "any species, including ours" anyway:
PERINO: I don't have [the documentation] with me. I know conceptually what we support. And I know that the Endangered Species Act is a tangled web that doesn't actually help support any species, including our own. ...
Q: (Laughter) So you're proposing eliminating it?