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Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced yesterday that they would revoke the Bush administration's 11th hour changes to the scientific consultation requirements of the Endangered Species Act. In its last weeks, the Bush administration removed the requirement that federal agencies consult with scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine whether projects such as roads, dams or mines would harm endangered species. Salazar explained:
Because science must serve as the foundation for decisions we make, federal agencies proposing to take actions that might affect threatened and endangered species will once again have to consult with biologists at the two departments.
For decades, the Endangered Species Act has protected threatened species and their habitats . . . Our decision affirms the administration's commitment to using sound science to promote conservation and protect the environment.
Organizations applauding the decision include Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the US, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. When the Bush administration removed the scientific consultation requirement, then President-elect Obama said that he would reverse the change, so unlike Obama's decision to get a dog from a breeder, this action by the Obama administration is a promise fulfilled.
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