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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bush Gutting Endangered Species Act on Way Out

SACRAMENTO (CN) - In its final days in office, the Bush administration is gutting the Endangered Species Act with "wholesale changes," eliminating requirements for scientific review, and putting "entire species and ecosystems at risk for complete destruction," Attorney General Jerry Brown says.

In a letter to the Interior Department, Brown claims the changes violate federal law to truckle to mining, logging and other commercial interests.

The Department of the Interior proposes eliminating the Endangered Species Act's requirement for scientific review of any land-use decision that could threaten endangered species or habitats, Brown says.

"These regulations go beyond their statutory authority because they are in contrast to the National Environmental Policy Act," Deputy Attorney General Tara Muller said in an interview Friday. The NEPA requires that a federal agency submit a detailed statement on the environmental impact of any major federal action affecting the environment. It also requires a public comment period.

Brown's office says the Interior Department received more than 300,000 comments on its proposed changes but took only three days to review them and respond. "It appears that the department is flouting the public review process and has already predetermined the result," Brown said in a statement.

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