Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama decisions on wildlife raising environmentalists' ire

During his first year in office, President Barack Obama won praise from environmental groups for a wide range of decisions, from toughening gas mileage rules to spending billions on renewable energy projects. But now there's grumbling on his green flank. A growing number of environmentalists are clashing with the administration over its management of America's struggling wildlife populations and what they call its reluctance to use the nation's most powerful environmental law, the Endangered Species Act, to stand up to industry. Last week, five conservation groups, led by the Sierra Club, sued the federal government after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to draw up critical habitat maps for the Florida panther. Florida's state animal, the iconic panther once widely roamed the South, but today numbers 100 or fewer. Protecting its habitat would limit development in parts of South Florida, an explosive political issue. Two weeks earlier, the administration sparked controversy when it announced it would not add the American pika to the endangered species list. In its first year, Obama's administration added only two new species to the endangered list, the fewest in any president's first year since Ronald Reagan in more

No comments: