Caught looking

by Daniel Kessler

August 22, 2008



Earlier this summer, the Department of Interior stopped dragging its feet when it came to protecting the polar bear. After three years of obfuscation, they finally listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This might seem like a victory, but there are enough holes in this listing to leave the polar bear unprotected against its biggest threat, global warming.

Those holes may now be widening with the Bush administration’s latest attack on the planet–an underhanded and dangerous attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act. How? By making it more difficult for a species to gain protection by scaling back the "foreseeable future" timeframe in which to determine whether a species is likely to become extinct or not. For species like whales and grizzly bears, who enjoy long lives, that could spell disaster. If these changes take effect, regulators will be able to look into the "forseeble future" only 20 generations or 10 years, whichever they decide. The shortened timeframe could make responsbile decision making on threatened species a thing of the past.

All of this may seem like legal mumbo-jumbo until you come across an article like this that reminds you what’s at stake. Here’s another reminder: there’s only 75 days to the election. Vote smart.       

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