Bush Team Aims to Revoke Protections from Threatened Seabird

The Bush administration took a big step yesterday toward removing the marbled murrelet, a Northwest seabird, from the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, a move enviros say will lead to further logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. The ruling from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that the declining murrelet population in Oregon, Washington, and California is not sufficiently genetically distinct from the more healthy murrelet populations in Canada and Alaska to warrant special protection. Problem is, the ruling flies in the face of the recommendation of the agency’s own Northwest office. That office’s report was changed on orders from Assistant Interior Secretary Craig Manson, the Bush administration’s point person on the ESA. Said Interior spokesflack Hugh Vickery, “It’s not changing science. It’s more interpreting and applying the law.”