The Fish and Wildlife Service reversed seven decisions that watered down protections for endangered species, saying they were “improperly influenced” by a Bush appointee with no formal training in natural sciences, the Los Angeles Times reports. The appointee, Julie MacDonald, "should never have been allowed near the endangered species program," a congressional critic said.
MacDonald, who resigned in May, repeatedly overruled scientists' recommendations on species and habitat protection, the Times notes. The seven decisions affect 17 species, including California's arroyo toad and a jumping mouse that lives in Wyoming and Colorado. Critics want more decisions reviewed. "Political interference does not stop at Julie MacDonald's step," said one.