Sen. Boxer none too happy about feds’ attack on ESA
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote a letter Friday to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne expressing “great concern” over the Bush administration’s sneaky attack on the Endangered Species Act. The change would allow federal agencies to green-light many projects with no independent review of impact on endangered species — which, uh, kind of defeats the purpose. Boxer asked that the feds “discontinue further action” on the proposal or, at the very least, schedule public hearings and extend the 30-day comment period to six months. “[Y]our office appears to be attempting, in effect, to make changes to the Endangered Species Act that the Administration has been unable to achieve through legislation,” she noted. The Interior Department says the rule change is no big deal, and that it only relaxes regulations for projects that have “no effect, an insignificant effect, a beneficial effect, or an indeterminable effect” on endangered species. Which, apparently, federal agencies will just magically know.