For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Mogerman at 312/780-7424 (office)

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Endangered Species Act Now Endangered

Last Minute Bush Rule Changes Threaten American Wildlife

CHICAGO - Last-minute changes to the Endangered Species Act announced by the Bush administration today will dramatically weaken and limit the use of the landmark wildlife protection law, according to scientists and attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The Bush plan ignores more than 300,000 comments received from outraged citizens across the country and exposes America's most vulnerable plants and animals to new threats.

Following are comments from Andrew Wetzler, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Endangered Species Program.

"This administration has rejected anything with a whiff of science -- so before sulking out the back door, they are going after rules that require Fish and Wildlife Service scientists to prevent harm to our last wild animals and places. Despite today's feel-good statements, we remain convinced that these changes are illegal. We will look at the final language when it is published tomorrow, but I think we will see them in court."

Wetzler has blogged extensively on this latest attack on one of America's bedrock environmental laws. His ESA blog postings are available at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/awetzler 

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