Feds Reverse 7 Wildlife Decisions

Agency blasts Bush appointee's meddling, restores protections
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 9:19 PM CST
This undated photo provided by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department shows a New Mexican meadow jumping mouse at a marsh near Espanola, N.M. The mouse is one of 17 species affected by the reversed decisions....   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – 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.