The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, 202-320-6467
Susan Holmes, Earthjustice, 202-667-4500, ext 204
Andrew Wetzler, Natural Resources Defense Council, 312-780-7429
James Navarro, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-0247
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, 415-977-5619
Colin Durrant, Conservation Law Foundation, 617-850-1722

Over 100,000 Americans Oppose Bush Endangered Species Rewrite

Members of Congress and Citizen Organizations Urge Administration to Withdraw Regulations that Undermine the Endangered Species Act


Today more than 100,000 citizens opposed
the Bush Administration's attempts to severely weaken the Endangered Species

"In the midst of a financial crisis,
it is incredible that Americans, despite their numerous other worries, rose up
and declared that they wanted an end to the destruction of endangered species
protections. To think that more
than 100,000 individuals took notice and opposed these regulations being pushed
through by Bush, Cheney and company is astounding. Demonstrating such massive opposition
ensures that Bush and friends will not be able to go quietly into the night
while destroying one of our country's greatest wilderness laws," said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the
Endangered Species Coalition.

Representatives from the Endangered Species
Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Sierra Club,
National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity
delivered over 100,000 comments emailed in from Americans of all walks of life
after the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration refused to accept public comments in the form of e-mails or

"Over 100,000 people around the country are
telling the Bush administration to abandon its last-ditch attempts to
remove protections for our nation's wildlife and wild places," said Melissa
Waage at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "With only three months left in
office, President Bush should consider his legacy on the environment and take
steps to protect our endangered species, not harm them. Public reaction has been
swift and clear: diminishing protections for our endangered species will not be

The Bush administration proposals
would significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act. According to a Congressional Research
Service report, the proposed regulations may violate the Endangered Species Act,
allow federal actions to proceed that would harm endangered species and create
more work for federal agencies, not less, as the Administration claims.

"The Bush administration proposal
eliminates the critical checks and balances needed to protect endangered species
and cuts scientists from the process of making decisions that need to be
science-based," said Mike Daulton, with National Audubon Society.

"In its waning days in office,
the Bush administration is trying to fast track oil drilling, mining, logging
and development by stripping away protections for our public lands and wildlife
heritage," stated Matthew Kirby with Sierra Club. "The Bush administration has
attempted to unravel the Endangered Species Act quietly and without notice. It
isn't working. Tens of thousands of Americans have already demanded protection
for this cornerstone environmental law."

Over 80 Members of Congress also sent a
letter asking the Bush administration to withdraw the proposed regulations and
the Senate attempted to hold a hearing to delve into them more deeply.

wildlife agencies are the 'keepers of the flame' for our threatened and
endangered wildlife. They are the only experts equipped to make decisions based
on looking at the whole picture for a species, and taking them out of the
decision-making process is the height of recklessness," said Jamie Rappaport
Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife. "The danger that these
proposed changes spell for imperiled wildlife is clear, not only to us but to
the thousands of Americans who have urged the Bush administration to drop these

"Such a major change to a bedrock
environmental law deserves open and honest debate with Congress and the American
public," said Susan Holmes of Earthjustice. "Yet, the administration refused to
defend their proposal by canceling
their scheduled appearance before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works
committee last month-a rarely, if ever, seen occurrence. This only demonstrated how desperate
they are to hide their unpopular changes."

Well over 100 conservation, scientific,
education, religious, sporting and community organizations asked the
administration to stop their assault on one of our nation's most important
conservation laws.

Bush administration's proposed wholesale evisceration of the consultation
regulations would have a particularly nefarious impact on our ability to protect
species such as the polar bear from global warming and would allow corrupt
agencies such as the Mineral Management Service to proceed without check, " said
Bill Snape with the Center for Biological Diversity.

"What New
England's imperiled wildlife need is better science-based
management, not less. The Bush proposal takes us in the wrong direction and
would only create more problems for North Atlantic right whales,
Canada lynx and
other imperiled species such as the Atlantic wolffish," said Sean Cosgrove of the Conservation
Law Foundation.

Pictures of the comment delivery
can be found at:

Video of the comment delivery can
be found at:

The Endangered Species Coalition's mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation's at-risk species, to protect and restore their habitats, and to guide these fragile populations along the road to recovery.