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House Democrats move to overturn Bush species rule

A group of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday moved to overturn a last-minute rule by the Bush administration intended to reduce input from U.S. government scientists when evaluating whether dams, power plants or other projects might harm endangered species.
The 13 House members introduced a resolution that, if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by incoming President Barack Obama, will block the rule from taking effect. The action uses a 1996 law that allows Congress to review new regulations. It has been used once in the past 12 years.
In December, the Bush administration finalized changes to endangered species regulations to allow federal agencies, without consulting government experts, to decide whether wildlife or plants are likely to be harmed by power plants, dams and other projects.
For the past 35 years, regulations have required government biologists to be consulted in all cases _ even when a project is unlikely to harm threatened wildlife or the places they live.
The Interior Department has called the changes "narrow" and said they would focus expertise on cases where it is needed most.
Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat, the lead sponsor of the resolution, said his goal was "to overturn a rule that served as the Bush administration's final assault on, and insult to, one of the nation's landmark environmental laws."

Updated : 2021-09-22 02:31 GMT+08:00