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Attorney General Jerry Brown Suing Bush Administration

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The endangered mountain yellow-legged frog is a resident of Southern California | Photo by Ken Bohn/Zoological Society of San Diego

Hey President Bush, you're not off the hook yet. Jerry Brown is back suing President Bush over green issues, this time over new rules pertaining to the Endangered Species Act.

"The Bush Administration is seeking to gut the Endangered Species Act on its way out the door," Attorney General Brown said in a statement today. "This is an audacious attempt to circumvent a time-tested statute that for 35 years has required scientific review of proposed federal agency decisions that affect wildlife."

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Here's the low down, according to Brown's office:

The changes allow federal agencies to undertake or permit mining, logging, and other commercial activities on federal land and other areas without obtaining review or comment from federal wildlife biologists on the environmental effects of such activities. The new regulations are the most significant changes to the Endangered Species Act and its implementing regulations in 20 years. Now that these regulations have been adopted, many decisions on whether to permit commercial activities on protected land will be made at the discretion of federal agency project proponents. These agencies generally lack adequate biological expertise and have incentives to conclude that their projects will not have adverse affects on endangered and threatened species and their habitat.

The changes also eliminate the requirement to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on species and ecosystems from proposed federal projects. Federal agencies now no longer need to consider the possible adverse impacts on species like the polar bear from commercial projects that require federal approval or funding such as highway construction and coal-fired power plants.

The lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the Bush Administration:

• Violated the Endangered Species Act by adopting regulations that are inconsistent with that statute;
• Violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider the environmental ramifications of the proposed new regulations; and
• Violated the Administrative Procedures Act by not adequately considering public comments submitted by the Attorney General and numerous other organizations and concerned citizens.

Brown has at least twice sued the feds this year.