The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

200,000 Citizens, Members of Congress, and Scientists Call for Sec. Salazar to Rescind Rules Weakening Endangered Species Ac


Conservationists, scientific organizations, and Rep. Raul M.
Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will join together today on Capitol Hill for a press
conference to call on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to rescind two
rules passed in the final days of the Bush administration that weaken
the Endangered Species Act. One exempts thousands of federal
activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review
under the Endangered Species Act. The other expressly bans federal
agencies from examining the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on the
threatened polar bear, despite the fact that the species was protected
under the Endangered Species Act in 2008 due to global warming.

In March 2009, Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, giving
Secretary Salazar the authority to rescind both regulations if he acts
by May 9. He has not yet revoked, or indicated an intent to revoke, the

"Secretary Salazar should immediately
rescind both regulations and close the door on Bush's anti-endangered
species, anti-science legacy," said Kieran Suckling, executive director
of the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Endangered Species Act is
one of America's most successful environmental laws, and it must be
restored to its full power."

Responding to rumors
that Salazar would strike down the general, nationwide regulation while
keeping the polar-bear-specific regulation in place, Suckling said: "It
would be a hollow victory to strike down the national regulations but
leave the polar bear exemption in place. If the Bush regulations are
not struck down, the polar bear is likely to be the first large mammal
to go extinct due to global warming in the United States. It is on the
front line of the global warming crisis and needs every bit of help we
can muster to save it."

At the press conference,
letters from members of Congress, Citizens, Conservationists,
scientists and others all calling for the rules to be rescinded will be
gathered and submitted to Secretary Salazar, including:

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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