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Eight States Join California in Challenge to Bush Midnight Reg on Endangered Species

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Eight states joined California last week in opposing eleventh hour regulations by the Bush Administration that would exempt federal agencies from a key requirement of the Endangered Species Act, the most significant change to the act in over 20 years. Their complaint says the new regulations "replace the current statutorily-mandated scientific consultation process with the self-interested and unscientific decisions of federal agency project proponents."

In late December of 2008, California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. sued to overturn a regulation passed last month which allows federal agencies to approve projects such as logging and mining without consulting federal wildlife biologists about its effects on endangered and threatened species.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island have since signed onto the lawsuit.

Each believes that last month's revision to the ESA "will lead to further imperilment and even possible extinction of endangered and threatened species."

All the states involved are home to species listed on the federal endangered or threatened species list, with California having the most among them at 310 species.

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