URGENT: Tell Sec. Salazar not to weaken the Endangered Species Act!

A few months ago, we reported on a chance for the Obama administration to overturn a Bush administration rule limiting the scope of the protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. Essentially, the “polar bear special rule” demands that the global warming — its causes and effects — not be considered as harms to the bear’s survival.

Interior Secretary Salazar let that rule stand, much to the dismay of wildlife advocates. But he did rescind another of the Bush administration’s harmful changes to the Endangered Species Act, the so-called “self-consultation” rule. The rewritten regulation had allowed federal agencies to consider projects and permits that might affect endangered species without having to consult federal wildlife scientists at the Fish & Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Services, which had up until then been required under the Endangered Species Act.

This consultation rule is very important to the survival and recovery of endangered species.

Unfortunately, we once again have to speak up as concerned citizens to let Salazar know that we demand a strong Endangered Species Act. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, which was in the forefront of the effort to get protections for the polar bear,

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is currently accepting comments on potential changes to regulations governing implementation of a key provision of the Endangered Species Act. The affected provision requires federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife or National Marine Fisheries Services to ensure their actions don’t jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species or harm their critical habitat.

Secretary Salazar is now asking for public comments to find out what we think about changes to the Act’s consultation regulations — but only until next Monday, August 3.

Please take a moment right now to let Secretary Salazar know that you support a strong Endangered Species Act. He needs to hear from as many of us as possible that we strongly oppose any new regulations that will weaken standards that federal agencies use to carry out their responsibility to protect the plants and animals who can’t speak up for themselves.

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