Saturday, August 16, 2008



SchNEWS 642, Friday 15th August 2008


And just when you thought that they couldn't get any eviler... the Bush Junta is now attempting to rush through changes to the law to remove thousands of animals off the endangered species list so the US Inc. can keep on buildin' those roads and drillin' for oil.

Under the proposals, federal agencies will have the power to decide for themselves whether construction projects like mines would or would not harm endangered animals and plants. At the moment the government is legally obliged to listen to the views of independent scientists as to whether a new project will have an adverse impact on wildlife. Such consultations take place thousands of times every year, annoyingly holding up lucrative exploitation of natural resources.

But it's not all just about pandering to the oil firms and dam-builders (and the propects of developing Alaska where many an endangered animal is to be found). The real underlying reason for the changes are an attempt to see off likely challenges that will arise when activists and supportive scientists start to argue that particular developments harm the environment generally, and then try to use the existing laws to block projects by linking the increased carbon emissions with global warming generally - and the potential extinction of millions of species.

Dirk Kempthorne, the US interior secretary said the new proposals would ensure that the US "avoids misusing its species laws to regulate global climate changes". Showing that he's no scientist himself, Dirk goes on to say that "It is not possible to draw a link between greenhouse gas emissions and distant observations of impact affecting species."

And don't expect other US politicians to come to the rescue. It's a presidential power to change these laws, which means Bush doesn't need to speak to Congress about the measures. Once in place, it would take much time and effort to repeal, even with the necessary political will.

The chief Democrat on the Senate environment committee said that "If
this proposed regulation had been in place, it would have undermined our ability to protect the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the grey whale." SchNEWS wonders whether the species homo sapiens appears anywhere on the list, or whether Bush and Co have decided to toss that
particular breed into the dustbin of history too.