Sunday, July 15, 2007

Endangered Endangered Species Program

According to today's Boston Globe, the success of seeing the bald eagle soar off the U.S. government's endangered species list has obscured a bigger problem in the agency charged with protection and recovery of such species. Listing of new species, except those forced onto the list by litigation, has all but stopped in the last six years amid a 15% budget cut, and the acting assistant director of endangered species for the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bruce Arroyo, agreed with the paper's estimate that 30 percent of the jobs in the program, including the director's post, are vacant.
COMMENT: Comparing Administrations by the number of species they list (58 in Bush II, 231 in Bush 1), is oversimplifying the subject, since each species' case is different, but there's no question that lack of personnel and funding is hampering efforts to protect species already on the list. One organization I belong to, Republicans for Environmental Protection, has pressured GOP lawmakers, with some success, to reclaim for the party the conservation heritage of Teddy Roosevelt.
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