While Congress has largely disappeared as a threat to the ESA with the defeat of Richard Pombo and change in party control, the Bush Administration is still trying to gut the act.
Their methods are 1. to reduce the administrative protections governing the species (that is, weaken the details because it is often the details that are the most important).
2. Not list species that are in fact endangered. Those who wrote the ESA believed the government would be, on the basis of science, the principal source of listings. It hasn’t happened that way. The Bush Administration has not voluntarily listed a single species. All of them added have been by lawsuit from groups who convince the courts that the Administration is clearly not doing their job. Most extinctions come while a species is waiting to be listed. Getting on the list really does prevent extinctions and the Administration knows this.
3. Attempt to defund the Act, which has never had much money anyway. Without money the ESA means little. Congress has the final say on funding (unless Bush vetos). Contacting your US Senators and US Representative would be very helpful if you want to see more money appropriated. The amount of money they give the ESA is so small that it would not fund an hour of the conflict in Iraq.
I don’t like to say this, but the Administration wants plants and animals to go extinct so they aren’t around to disrupt development plans and to do favors for their political buddies. The story below indicates that the master of darkness, Dick Cheney himself, has intervened to prevent the protection of species.
Here is the story in the LA Times. By Margot Roosevelt, Times Staff Writer