Lame Duck v. Bald Eagles
August 11, 2008 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Cross another item off of President Bush's to-do list before he leaves the White House: hobbling the Endangered Species Act and allowing federal agencies to gauge the environmental impact of their projects for themselves. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the changes were needed to ensure that the ESA would not be used as a "back door" to regulate greenhouse gases.
posted by digaman (50 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good job theres nothing going on in the world right now...
posted by Artw at 8:47 PM on August 11, 2008


[For the record, bald eagles were delisted from Threatened status in 2007, having increased from less than 500 eagles in the early 60's to more than 10,000 in 2007 under the terms of the Act, but I couldn't resist the pun.]
posted by digaman at 8:50 PM on August 11, 2008


This will narwhal.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:52 PM on August 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Does this mean I can can wear bald eagle feathers in my hat after I shoot and eat them, or do I still need to be a Native American for that?
I was born in Colorado...
posted by Balisong at 8:53 PM on August 11, 2008


These guys, they're not so good with the cause and effect side of life are they.
posted by nudar at 9:04 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why doesn't the US just come out and completely deregulate? Why the sham?
posted by maxpower at 9:09 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


1) Piss of allies with hawkish, unjustified military action.
2) Hobble U.S. economy.
3) Reward political contributors with multibillion dollar no-bid contracts.
4) Let the animals know who's #1! USA! USA! USA!
5) Reduce what's left of the world into smoking, radioactive crater.
posted by brain cloud at 9:12 PM on August 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


What a dickhead. I can not believe how much damage he has wrought on this country in just 7 1/2 years. It is just disgusting.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:13 PM on August 11, 2008


Why isn't anyone suggesting a cap-and-trade system? It'd be very easy to institute a market-based system allowing federal agencies to buy and sell extinction rights.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:13 PM on August 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


6) Profit!
posted by puke & cry at 9:14 PM on August 11, 2008


This time next year, they'll be saying that President Obama's environmental policies aren't working, and point to how the agencies are judging progress themselves as the reason. Republicans aren't as dumb as they rook.
posted by dhartung at 9:15 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


a friend of mine is voting for mccain because mccain's tax cut in his bracket is apparently going to be about 0.1% bigger than obama's.

and in exchange for those few extra dollars, we get more of this bullshit.

i can't stand it. i just can't stand it.
posted by klanawa at 9:17 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


This time next year, they'll be saying that President Obama's environmental policies aren't working, and point to how the agencies are judging progress themselves as the reason. Republicans aren't as dumb as they rook.

No, whoever is the next president will be dealing with a troubled economy and rising energy costs. The Republicans will use that over and over as a reason to: drill offshore and in Alaska for oil, scrap environmental regulations, build more so-called "clean" coal burning plants, cut taxes for their wealthy friends, and generally blame the government for everything that they did wrong, because I think they're betting on Obama, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:25 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


It'd be very easy to institute a market-based system allowing federal agencies to buy and sell extinction rights.

What, you mean like "Oh, turns out we've still got some ocelots left after the end of the 2008/09 financial year. Hey, Frank, sign this and you can go ahead and harvest all them fuckin' bison, finally"?
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:27 PM on August 11, 2008


dhartung writes "This time next year, they'll be saying that President Obama's environmental policies aren't working, and point to how the agencies are judging progress themselves as the reason. Republicans aren't as dumb as they rook."

Which is why Obama's first act in office should be to retract every one of Bush's executive orders. Every one, and most of the agency orders like this one.

In fact, public spirited citizens (like us) should put together a wiki of as many of these orders as we can -- both as a guide for the Obama Administration, an as a goad to keep the heat on Obama to get it done in the face of lobbyist opposition.
posted by orthogonality at 9:29 PM on August 11, 2008 [18 favorites]


It seems like they want to destroy America, but really it's just that they have different views about what makes America great, and different beliefs about the nature of reality (for example, they don't believe that global warming is real, etc)

Also, this has Cheney written all over it. He seems to actively hate environmentalists, and go out of his way to damage the environment.
posted by delmoi at 9:29 PM on August 11, 2008


delmoi writes "(for example, they don't believe that global warming is real, etc)"

One almost hopes Florida votes Republican. Everyone there can swim, right?
posted by orthogonality at 9:34 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


In a weird way, I can see this being a long-term mistake for Bush net positive for the environment. Go with me here...

The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants.

There are a lot of federal agencies, with overlapping functions. It's not inconceivable to see a project tied up because of more, not less, bureaucratic infighting as they attempt to throw their weight around to determine policy that once was the turf of a single agency. Assuming a Democratic administration starting in 2009 (not assured), which can emplace administrators at the heads of these various agencies that can benefit the environment.

New regulations, which don’t require the approval of Congress

Which is a potential end run around a future Congress that is not environmentally friendly.

would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft first obtained by The Associated Press.

But what is this replaced with? Multiple mandatory, independent reviews, with different results, sponsored by agencies with differing agendas?

I'm sure Cheney thinks he has this figured out, though.

Still, this guy likes at least part of the deal.

"Today's decision is a tremendous victory for one of the world's most iconic and charismatic animals," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund US on the group's Web site. "The other big winner today is sound science, which has clearly trumped politics, providing polar bears a new lease on life."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:37 PM on August 11, 2008


Wish I could share your optimism, CPB, but the record doesn't justify it. From the second link:

"In 2005, the House passed a bill that would have made similar changes to the Endangered Species Act, but the bill died in the Senate.

The sponsor of that bill, then-House Resources chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., told the AP Monday that allowing agencies to judge for themselves the effects of a project will not harm species or habitat.

'There is no way they can rubber stamp everything because they will end up in court for every decision,' he said.

But internal reviews by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that about half the unilateral evaluations by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that determined wildfire prevention projects were unlikely to harm protected species were not legally or scientifically valid."

posted by digaman at 9:45 PM on August 11, 2008


orthogonality: Which is why Obama's first act in office should be to retract every one of Bush's executive orders.

Get over yourself. There are penty of executive orders from the Bush administration that make sense.
posted by peeedro at 9:52 PM on August 11, 2008


This is pretty simple: let what should be objective, disinterested science be done by objctive, disinterested scientists, unswayed and unswayable by politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucrats.

Which is exactly the opposite of what Bush is doing. As Bush-usual, politics and business interests and short-term parochial profits have trumped science and he long-term national interest.
posted by orthogonality at 9:53 PM on August 11, 2008


Everyone there can swim, right?

A rising tide lifts all boats.
posted by pompomtom at 9:55 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


peeedro writes "Get over yourself. There are penty of executive orders from the Bush administration that make sense."

By "penty", do you mean "at least five"?
posted by orthogonality at 9:55 PM on August 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


Kempthorne's comments read to me like "We are declaring the poar bears threatened, but no one better use that declaration as an excuse to change policy to protect the polar bears." That's my Administration, all right.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 9:58 PM on August 11, 2008


Over half of our country is proud of this man--proud enough to have voted for him in 2004. Keep that in mind next time you're in a crowd.
posted by maxwelton at 10:13 PM on August 11, 2008


It seems like they want to destroy America, but really it's just that they have different views about what makes America great, and different beliefs about the nature of reality (for example, they don't believe that global warming is real, etc)

That last bit about the nature of reality is the problem. We're dealing with a bunch of criminals whose goal is to delude low information voters and bulldoze any signs of questioning. It worked for a while. A lot of these guys have been around since Nixon. He sank with the ship and all the rats scrambled back to shore.

There is something to be said for conservatism. There are arguments to be made against it, too, but not all conservatives are authoritarians or socially conservative. But this really is something else. It's just a thinly veiled con game. They put on the costumes and pretend to say what needs to be said, but by now you can tell they really aren't trying very hard anymore.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:13 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: By "penty", do you mean "at least five"?

Yup. I have a crummy "l" key on my laptop. I'm ashamed that you found the Achilles heel in my reasoning spelling. Meanwhile, can you tell me which executive orders should be repealed and for what reason? Every one as you said before, or are there some good ones in there? I'm not ready to assume that every paper he signed should be nuked from orbit because you say so. And you're moving the goalposts: "retract every one of Bush's executive orders" except for the "at least five" that are worthwhile? As I said before, get over yourself. I don't think we disagree about what a piece of shit of a President he has been, but that does not mean that every (or every minus five) of his executive orders have been pure evil.

From here and here: Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said late Monday the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a “back door” to regulate the gases blamed for global warming.

I think I agree with Cool Papa Bell that this is a great invitation for the next administration to draft rules which regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Bush administration is not going provide any leadership here, so I hope either incoming administration will provide science-based regulations that will be as effective and lasting as the Endangered Species Act.
posted by peeedro at 10:18 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the informative Arctic Economics, a relevant post - The old aerial polar bear hunt in Alaska "There was also a lot of outside criticism of the hunt. When the state finally outlawed hunting from planes, hoping to preserve a ground sport hunt, it was too late; the Feds were ready to step in and take over."
posted by tellurian at 10:31 PM on August 11, 2008


I thought "penty" did mean "five".
posted by Wolof at 10:56 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


COUNTRY FIRST
posted by matteo at 11:05 PM on August 11, 2008


Over half of our country is proud of this man

W: Somewhere between Nixon & St Raygun.

half as popular as Clinton. Wow.

Though to be fair, I didn't mind seeing him at the Olympics opening ceremonies. Observing sporting events seems to be his core competency.
posted by yort at 11:10 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't even know what to type in this box, to try to encapsulate my feelings about this. They are pretty much every bad feeling. Except surprise.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:15 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm cool with this. WTF is everyone freaking out about?
posted by davidmsc at 11:24 PM on August 11, 2008


Well, there's a shocker.
posted by puke & cry at 11:38 PM on August 11, 2008


Talking to me, puke&cry?
posted by davidmsc at 12:32 AM on August 12, 2008


Holy shit! His new mantra should just be, "KILL!!!!".
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:43 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Warning: early morning pissed off MC rant in 3, 2, 1... you have been warned)

God I hate this lame duck jerk off. It's like he is a little kid who does not want to eat his veggies and is going for the ice cream. (see family guy) Each step we say... "don't do that" or "one more step and you are in trouble!" I think it is time someone beats his ass til it's red and he can't sit down. I can't wait til November! Get this idiot out of office!!!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:41 AM on August 12, 2008


Get this idiot out of office!!!

...and straight into some cushy directorships, maybe a sinecure spot at a law firm or a think tank. That'll learn 'im. That'll learn 'im good.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:19 AM on August 12, 2008


Observing sporting events seems to be his core competency.

Yes, he bounces a flag on his knee real well.
posted by inigo2 at 6:48 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


And yet somehow bikini-wearing water-polo players aren't endangered...
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:00 AM on August 12, 2008


I'm just about ready to see the Man drop off the radar and go back to clearing brush in Crawford, where endangered species are unlikely to turn up.
posted by kozad at 7:21 AM on August 12, 2008


What a dickhead. I can not believe how much damage he has wrought on this country in just 7 1/2 years. It is just disgusting.

It just shows that if you put your Dick Cheney's mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:25 AM on August 12, 2008


I'm just about ready to see the Man drop off the radar and go back to clearing brush in Crawford, where endangered species are unlikely to turn up.

I dunno, I'd be hoping for a fucking great tiger.
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I keep recalling how everyone thought Carter was so terrible for the country as a president back when he was in office, blaming him for the terrible economy and other nonsense, and then we had 12 straight years of republican presidents after that.

Now, I wouldn't say that that was all a plan of Ford's, who I generally don't think too poorly of. But, as the inheritor of Nixon's folly after his resignation, he (according to whitehouse.gov) "was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace. " 1 Frankly, he didn't succeed in his 3 years, and considering the type of cronyism he engaged in when appointing his staff it's hardly surprising.

Now, as I said, I wouldn't see this as a plan on Ford's part, or even Nixon's. But that they were party, perhaps unwittingly, to what seems to be a reusable (and apparently successful) tactic of the GOP to ensure they retain the executive seat more years than they lose it seems plausible to me. Carter, hopefully like Obama, was another liberal idealist with the gall to dream of peace and the will to achieve it in some measure. I wouldn't be remotely surprised to find that the GOP is happily turning over the executive this time out just in time to blame everything they've done to this country on Obama. McCain's campaign is so poorly executed, though I doubt that's intentinal on his part, that I could easily see the GOP having handed over this aging geezer to the DNC as their version of a Trojan Horse.
posted by shmegegge at 8:27 AM on August 12, 2008


Thank God no one can sneakily prevent harmful atmospheric pollutants! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!

/codpiece
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 AM on August 12, 2008


If the tiger could be in a motorcycle sidecar all the better.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on August 12, 2008


peeedro

Executive Order 13233, November 1, 2001. That is all the reason in the world for me to not vote for him when his re-election came up. I don't need a list of all the various fuck ups he's done, nor do I give a shit about any one thing he may have done right.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:34 AM on August 12, 2008


Though to be fair, I didn't mind seeing him at the Olympics opening ceremonies.

Yeah, but did you see his painful interview with Bob Costas? Christ, the guy can mug, wince and smirk at the most inappropriate times. He was smirking as Costas was asking him about pressuring China on Darfur. What a tool...
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:46 PM on August 12, 2008


You know, there used to be those science fiction plots that revolved around aliens subverting the human governments and secretly plotting to change our planet to one more suitable to them - changing the atmosphere; causing humans to become weak and sensitive to certain conditions; provoking wars to reduce our numbers and give aggressive members of our species an outlet for their destructive urges.

I always used to wonder how stupid the authors of those stories thought we were. I mean, would we really suffer something like this? How could we not notice that we were poisoning our own atmosphere! Like we would really think that dumping chemicals into the ocean made them disappear forever! Like we wouldn't rebel at the first sign of those "leaders" undermining our democratic processes!

I'm not an American, but from the outside looking in it really seems as if your current government is hell-bent on destroying as much of nature and the environment, law and order, and critical thinking and rational thought as possible. There is real, palpable hostility towards entities and ideas that most rational human beings should consider fundamental to a civilized existence - and there is almost no sign of any protests. It is... odd to witness something like this.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:57 PM on August 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


Over half of our country is proud of this man--proud enough to have voted for him in 2004. Keep that in mind next time you're in a crowd.

I look for them EVERY time I'm in a crowd (not too many of them in L.A., but I travel a lot).

Because I want to personally thank them for:

1. Our inability to respond to Katrina.
2. Three and a half more years of fighting in Iraq.
3. The rising cost of gas
4. The plummeting value of the dollar.
5. Our disappearing civil rights
6. Our standing around the world
7. The environment

Thank you, 55 million people who voted for George Bush, if I could only force you to pay the bill for the last four years.
posted by cjets at 3:49 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


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