Thursday, July 29, 2004

Orwell watch: Bush "streamlines" protection of endangered species by eliminating it 

Let's be positive! With Kerry as President, this kind of nonsense will stop:

The Environmental Protection Agency will be free to approve pesticides without consulting wildlife agencies to determine if the chemical might harm plants and animals protected by the Endangered Species Act, according to new Bush administration rules.

The streamlining by the Interior and Commerce departments represents "a more efficient approach to ensure protection of threatened and endangered species," officials with the two agencies, EPA and the Agriculture Department said in a joint statement Thursday.

Under the Endangered Species Act, EPA has been required to consult with Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service each time it licenses a new pesticide. But that hasn't been happening for some time.

"Because of the complexity of consultations to examine the effects of pest-control products, there have been almost no consultations completed in the past decade," the officials acknowledged in their statement.

The heads of the two wildlife services will presume EPA's review work is adequate in cases where EPA doesn't seek a consultation.

Aaron Colangelo, an [Natural Resources Defense Counsel] staff attorney, said the new rule benefits the pesticide industry at the expense of endangered species.

"The fact that the consultations are so complicated counsels for better protection, not lesser protection," he said. "The solution to ignoring it for decades isn't to rewrite the rule so they can continue to ignore the consultations. The solution is to start complying with the Endangered Species Act."
(via AP)

I love this latest example of Bush depradations. It combines all the best features of Bush policy-making:

1. Selling the EPA off to the pesticide industry

2. Denigrating the scientists at the wildlife agencies

3. Having the people who already know the answers they want (the EPA) deciding when to ask questions

4. Dealing with "complexity" (like nuance) by insisting it doesn't exist

and last but not least

5. Spewing poison wherever they go.

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