The Bush administration is quietly rewriting the rules on enforcing the Endangered Species Act, drafting changes that some environmentalists say will fatally weaken protections for threatened wildlife. A 117-page internal proposal obtained by Salon would limit which animals could be effectively protected, cut back on the size of habitats preserved, and shift enforcement from the federal government to the states.
"This is a no-holds-barred end run around one of America's most popular environmental protections," says Jan Hasselman, a Seattle environmental attorney. Bush has never been a fan of the Endangered Species Act, Rebecca Clarren notes, and has given protected status to far fewer species than his three predecessors. (Read more endangered species stories.)