Federal agencies again will have to consult with government wildlife experts before taking actions that could have an impact on threatened or endangered species.
The Obama administration said Tuesday it was overturning a rule change made in the final weeks of the Bush presidency.
Officials at the Interior and Commerce departments said they have reimposed the consultation requirement that assured the government's top biologists involved in species protection will have a say in federal action that could harm plants, animals and fish that are at risk of extinction.
Such consultation had been required for more than two decades until the Bush administration made it optional in rules issued last December, just weeks before the change in administrations. Environmentalists argued that the change severely reduced the protection afforded under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"By rolling back this eleventh-hour regulation, we are ensuring that threatened and endangered species continue to receive the full protection of the law" and that top science will be the foundation of the decision making, said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke added: "Our decision affirms the administration's commitment to using sound science to promote conservation and protect the environment."
via Gov't revokes rule limiting species protections.
Good. Most people do not understand that life on Earth is a fairly fragile interconnected web. We need biodiversity long term to survive and thrive.