In a last minute effort to alter the endangered species rules before Bush leaves office, officials are speed-reading 200,000 public comments. If the Administration goes through with their plan, they will implement the biggest changes to the rules since 1986.
[social_buttons]The Fish and Wildlife Service has called 15 people to Washington this week to speed read 200,000 comments in 32 hours. The public comments are regarding a proposal by the interior department to exclude greenhouse gases and the advice of federal biologists from decisions about whether dams and power plants could harm species.
Dale Hall, Fish and Wildlife Service Director, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the short time frame for processing the comments was requested by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and, indeed would set a record. Usually the review process takes months.
The public comment period for the changes ended last week.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., wrote his own letter in opposition to the changes, and it now sits among the thousands waiting in a pile to be processed. He called the 32-hour deadline a “last-ditch attempt to undermine the long-standing integrity of the Endangered Species program.”
Bryan Arroyo, the head of the agency’s endangered species program, said the team would be working eight hours a day, Tuesday through Friday, reviewing comments.
According to a calculation by a committee aid, at that rate 6,250 comments would need to be reviewed every hour, meaning that each member of the team would need to review seven comments per minute.
“It would seem very difficult for them in four days to respond to so many thoughtful comments in an effective way,” said Eric Biber, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. Biber himself sent in 70 pages of comment.
Though any changes to the Endangered Species Rules can be frozen by the incoming president elect, it oftentimes takes months, and sometimes years, to do so.
Barack Obama has already said that he would reverse any changes made.
What can you do? Contact Dirk Kempthorne and the Interior Department NOW to complain…Phone: 202-208-3100 E-Mail: email@example.com
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