Battle over Bush Administration's consultation regulations begins anew.
Yesterday, the Center for Biological Diversity praised a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee for moving an omnibus appropriations bill that, if passed, "will give President Obama power to rescind rules weakening both the Endangered Species Act and protections for the polar bear." See Press Release. CBD says that the rules are "a disaster for the polar bear and hundreds of other species,” and the legislation will enable the administration to avoid another procedural rulemaking process and "rescind the rules so old rules will take effect immediately."
Unsurprisingly, the cattle farmers, and others, express a competing viewpoint, and they "urge opposition" to the "recent improvements" to the ESA. See CattleNetwork. From their perspective, the regulations"expedite consultations between agencies and allow for a more efficient use of limited resources."
Congressional Republicans today took up the cattle farmers cause, reports the New York Times. According to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), repeal of the regulations, and the reinstatement of the old rules (in place for more than a decade) could empower the Department of Interior, creating "with far-reaching policy implementations for climate change and energy production without the slightest bit of debate is not good public policy." The NYT also noted that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said there is "no doubt" that climate change is having an impact on wildlife, but dodged a question on whether he might use the Endangered Species Act to control the greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information on this topic, search www.ESAblawg.com for "consultation regulations."