Politics trumps science: Obama upholds Bush Administration’s rollback of the Endangered Species Act in polar bear decision

Decision shocks environmentalists, brings glee to the hearts of industry responsible for climate change

The Obama Administration upheld Bush’s industry-friendly, obstructionist interpretation of the Endangered Species Act when Obama’s rancher Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, issued a decision refusing to consider ESA regulation of carbon emissions, the chief threat to the listed Polar Bear.

No global warming crackdown for polar bearsLas Angeles Times

Energy industry groups celebrated Friday, as did many Republicans.

“The Endangered Species Act is not the proper mechanism for controlling our nation’s carbon emissions,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute.

Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, the top Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee, praised Salazar for “a common-sense decision that will ensure more jobs are not lost due to excessive regulations of greenhouse gases by the government.”

Department of Interior’s News Release – Anyone else notice how Obama’s Interior has a habit of issuing these things on Friday (end of the news cycle) just like Bush ?  The Obama decision to uphold Bush’s politicized wolf delisting rule was made public on a Friday too …

This is an entirely political decision made on entirely political grounds.  What happened to Obama’s promise to uphold science over politics with his Administration’s decisions ?

President Obama’s Interior : If it looks like a Bush, sounds like a Bush, and acts like a Bush … …

Bush BLM’s environmental legacy on trial; Will Salazar listen ?

Scope of litigation - map © Advocates for the West & Conservation Geography

Scope of litigation - map © Advocates for the West & Conservation Geography - click to view enlarged map

Judge B Lynne Winmill ruled in favor of Western Watersheds Project ordering that the group’s comprehensive challenge of over 16 Resource Management Plans, directing management of over 30 million acres, can be litigated in his single court.

Resource Management Plans (RMPs) guide management of livestock grazing, off road vehicles, energy development, and other potentially environmentally harmful administered uses of public land.

WWP argues that Bush BLM’s collective Resource Management Plans constitute a systemic effort to undermine fundamental environmental laws of the United States thereby threatening many imperiled species using the example of mismanagement and failure to consider impact to sage grouse – an imperiled landscape indicator species (‘canary in the coal-mine’ of sage-steppe habitat) across millions of acres.
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Oregon Cattle Association whines over lost lambs, but gets little sympathy from the Oregonian

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association wants to shoot wolves on sight-

Wolves: Ranchers deserve to protect their property. By Bill Moore, guest opinion. Oregonian. Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

The howls over wolves. By The Oregonian Editorial Board

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Why the Cattle Association is worried about sheep is hard to say. As usual they fail to mention that the 23 lost lambs will be paid for. This “oversight” serves to make the financial loss appear much larger than it will be. Bill Moore also didn’t mention that the Oregon State wolf plan was adopted after much deliberation by a panel that included ranchers.

Once again for the sake of comparison. In Oregon, annual sheep and lamb losses to predators in the most recent NASS annual report were

Coyotes = 5,700
Cougar = 1,200
Dogs = 700
Eagles = 200
Bears = 100

Governor Signs Bighorn Sheep Bill into Law

This bighorn sheep was seen persistently coughing.  © Ken Cole

This bighorn sheep was seen persistently coughing. © Ken Cole

S1232 was signed into law yesterday by Governor Otter. The law mandates the Idaho Fish and Game Department to “cooperatively develop best management practices with the permittee(s) on the allotment(s)”.

To many this is a non-starter and does not address the fundamental problems with grazing domestic sheep in proximity to bighorn sheep.

S1232a – F&G, bighorn sheep relocation

Over the weekend I observed bighorn sheep on the East Fork of the Salmon River and one of the ewes was coughing persistently. This herd numbers at about 60 animals and is isolated from other herds of bighorn sheep by about 20 miles.

Posted in Bighorn sheep, politics. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Governor Signs Bighorn Sheep Bill into Law