Bush Loosens Endangered Species Act
Another midnight ruling refuses protection to threatened animals
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2008 9:59 AM CST
A Pacific walrus tagged with a satellite radio transmitter. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to act on a petition seeking protection for walrus.   (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey, Steven Kazlowski, FILE)
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(Newser) – The White House incensed environmental groups yesterday by announcing sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Federal agencies will no longer have to consult with scientists before approving potentially harmful building or logging projects, and the government will not recognize the threat that global warming poses to species such as polar bears and walruses.

"The Bush administration is using this to go after our most imperiled wildlife and kick them when they are down," says an Earthjustice attorney. But the Interior Secretary holds that "nothing in the regulation relieves a federal agency of its responsibilities to ensure that species are not harmed." Congress has already mobilized to restore the act's old regulations.