Is Obama too green, or not green enough?
Recent news articles demonstrate a clear theme: the Obama Administration is rebutting the "just like Bush" critique. "In a sharp reversal of its predecessor's position," the Arizona Daily Star begins its article about how the Obama Administration will protect the endangered jaguar's prime habitat and develop a jaguar recovery plan, must of which is in Mexico. See also ESAblawg on prior jaguar sightings within U.S. borders.
The Seattle Times reports that the decision to quadruple habitat protections for the bull trout, by designating 23,000 miles of streams and other waterbodies in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Nevada as critical habitat, is "another reversal of Bush administration Endangered Species Act policy."
Still, the environmental group WildEarth Guardians is not convinced that Obama means it. They filed a petition to list the Texas Kangaroo Rat, as ABC and AP report, and the group plans to file similar petitions for the spot-tailed earless lizard, a fish called the prairie chub, an insect called the Platte River caddisfly and the Scott's Riffle beetle, all as "part of the group's plan to file petitions and lawsuits over 36 days to persuade the Obama administration to make wildlife protection a priority." The LA Times also reports that if the Department of Agriculture does not start regulating commercial bumble bees, the Xerces Society intends to seek ESA protections for the insect.
But the Governor of Idaho is a believer in the greening of the Obama Administration, and he's bright red angry about it. As ABC and AP report, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter used his annual State of the State speech to highlighted his fight with FWS over protections for a rare desert plant, slickspot peppergrass.
Of course, the debate will never end, and some groups (on both ends of the spectrum) will never be satisfied -- no matter what. Still, the February 26 deadline for a decision on the listing of the sage grouse could prove to be a turning point in how people view the Obama Administration. Some folks in Wyoming and Nevada are concerned that listing of the bird will impair the implementation of green energy technology, like wind farms. See Reuters.
It's not easy being green.