In true Bush fashion, the Washington Post reports how the administration is making it impossible to add species to the list.
Controversies have occasionally flared over Interior Department officials who regularly overruled rank-and-file agency scientists’ recommendations to list new species, but internal documents also suggest that pervasive bureaucratic obstacles were erected to limit the number of species protected under one of the nation’s best-known environmental laws.
The documents show that personnel were barred from using information in agency files that might support new listings, and that senior officials repeatedly dismissed the views of scientific advisers as President Bush’s appointees either rejected putting imperiled plants and animals on the list or sought to remove this federal protection.
What will the world look like with half of the species we see today? Will the rest of nature be able to counter balance the shift?
One consequence is that the current administration has the most emergency listings, which are issued when a species is on the very brink of extinction.
And some species have vanished. The Lake Sammamish kokanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon, went extinct in 2001 after being denied an emergency listing, and genetically pure Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits disappeared last year after Interior declined to protect critical habitat for the species.