With the Bush administration on the verge of relaxing regulations protecting endangered species, Democratic leaders are looking at ways to overturn any last-minute rule changes.
The Bush administration has until Friday to publish new rules in order for them to take effect before President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in. Otherwise, Obama can undo them with the stroke of a pen.
A rule eliminating the mandatory, independent advice of government scientists in decisions about whether dams, highways and other projects are likely to harm species looked likely to meet the deadline, leaving the only chance for a quick reversal to Congress.
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will be looking at ways to overturn the final endangered species rules and other one-minute-to-midnight regulations.
The rules eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, allowing the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself whether the project is likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.
Current regulations require independent wildlife biologists to sign off on these decisions before a project can go forward, at times modifying the design to better protect species.
Yes, let's let the company decide for themselves whether or not to go ahead with their project--obviously they'll have the best interests of the environment and animals at heart. I'm glad that Congress is looking into ways to undo this madness.