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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

March 5, 2009

Contact: Kristina Johnson

Senate Votes to Scrap Bush-era Endangered Species Rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the U.S. Senate voted down an amendment aimed at keeping Bush-era endangered species regulations on the books.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would give the Obama administration 60 days to withdraw endangered species regulations pushed through by the Bush administration in its last days in office. On Tuesday, President Obama announced he would restore the protections that the Bush rules sought to remove.

The Bush regulations removed requirements that independent federal experts be consulted on projects that could harm endangered species, and included a loophole designed to prevent agencies from addressing global warming, even when it has been identified as a threat to the survival of a species like the polar bear.

However, today, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) offered an amendment to the 2009 omnibus spending bill that would have clogged the process and prevented overhaul of the Bush regulations.

The Senate voted 52-42 against the amendment.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope

The President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate have shown that they all agree on the importance of protecting America's wildlife for future generations.

For thirty years the Endangered Species Act has helped bring wildlife like the bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. President Bush's attack on endangered species protections would have made it much harder to help animals like the bald eagle survive.

President Obama has shown his commitment to restoring and strengthening the regulations that have protected wildlife for decades. By supporting him, the Senate has sent a clear signal that science, rather than special interests, should rule decisions affecting our nation's wildlife. Tossing out the Bush rules will bring wildlife biologists back into the process of deciding how to manage our most threatened animals.

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