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December 2008: BUSH EXIT STRATEGY
The Rush To Ruin Everything For Animals & Environment


1)   BLM To Sheep: We Like Roads Better Than You
2)   Bush To Penguins: Get A Life, But Not On Our Dime
3)   Hack Job: Endangered Species Act Stripped Top To Bottom
4)   EPA Says Factory Farms Don’t Have To Report Poop
5)   Fish & Wildlife Service Turns Its Back On Polar Bears
6)   FDA Was Just Kidding About A Ban On Animal Antibiotics
7)   Snowmobiles In Yellowstone National Park - Let Em’ Rip!
8)   Goodbye Flowing Streams, Hello Coal Mine Blasters
9)   Drill Baby, Drill!
10) Ask Incoming Obama Team For A Swift Repair Job


President bush looking into a woods.

“Now, as the president’s last term winds to a close, the administration has embarked on a fast-paced anti-regulatory spree... No longer is there even any attempt to disguise its anti-environmental actions with such Orwellian labels as ‘Clear Skies’ and ‘Healthy Forests.’” From a St. Louis Post Dispatch Op-Ed piece

1. BLM To Sheep: We Like Roads Better Than You
DATE: 10/19/08
SOURCE: Groups Sue to Protect Endangered Bighorn Sheep

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and California Wilderness Coalition filed suit in federal court challenging a flawed Bureau of Land Management amendment that would have grave consequences for endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep living in the mountains flanking Palm Springs...

The amendment would allow Dunn Road, an illegally constructed roadway in Peninsular bighorn critical habitat, to be opened to commercial vehicular use. Dunn Road bisects a crucial lambing area for bighorn in the northern part of their range. Bighorn sheep abandon lambing areas when confronted with aggravating human activities such as vehicular traffic.

“BLM clearly fails to fulfill its mandate to protect rare and endangered species on public lands, including the Peninsular bighorn sheep, by allowing motorized access to Dunn Road,” said Ileene Anderson, public lands deserts director for the Center for Biological Diversity...

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2.Bush To Penguins: Get A Life, But Not On Our Dime
DATE: 12/17/08
SOURCE: Bush Administration Denies Endangered Species Act Protection for Emperor Penguin; Ice-Dependent Species Imperiled by Global Warming

Two Emporer penguins. The Bush administration today denied protection for the emperor penguin under the Endangered Species Act. The emperor penguin, the most ice-dependant of all penguin species, is threatened by global warming and the consequent loss of its sea-ice habitat, as well as declining food availability wrought by the warming ocean off Antarctica. Today’s decision, made by the Department of the Interior in response to a petition and lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, concluded that global warming impacts were too “uncertain” to warrant protecting the species. The Administration also denied protection for two other penguin species, while proposing protection for seven other species...

“Penguin populations are in jeopardy and we can’t afford to further delay protections,” said Brendan Cummings, oceans program director at the Center. “The denial of protection for the emperor penguin ignores the science on global warming and ignores the law. We are confident it will be overturned by either the courts or the new administration.”

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3. Hack Job: Endangered Species Act Stripped Top To Bottom
DATE: 12/16/08
SOURCE: Bush Admin Regulations Gut Protections for Endangered Species

A wolf looks directly into the camera.

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced regulations that eviscerate our nation’s most successful wildlife law by exempting thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act. The regulations were published in the Federal Register today. A lawsuit filed...by the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and Defenders of Wildlife the day the regulations were announced, December 11, drew Judge Marilyn Patel.

“These regulations undermine fundamental protections for the nation’s endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, biodiversity program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope an Obama administration or Congress will act quickly to undo this 11th hour attempt to weaken our most important law for protecting wildlife.”

The lawsuit argues that the regulations violate the Endangered Species Act and did not go through the required public review process. The regulations, proposed August 11, were rushed by the Bush administration...with more than 300,000 public comments reviewed in 2-3 weeks. Environmental impacts were analyzed in a short and cursory environmental assessment, rather than a fuller environmental impact statement...

As an early Christmas gift to industry, Bush's policies exempted greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, oil and gas drilling, and other harmful developments from the Endangered Species Act...

And if that weren't bad enough, Bush also exempted tens of thousands of logging, mining, road building and development projects from Endangered Species Act review. Rather than have U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists independently review these actions, the Bush policy allows the agencies proposing the logging and mining to do the review themselves... Unfortunately, there are more bad regulations affecting clean air, clean water and our oceans coming down the pipe... STAY TUNED, Center For Biological Diversity

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4. EPA Says Factory Farms Don’t Have To Report Poop
DATE: 12/12/08
SOURCE: EPA Exempts Factory Farms From Emissions Reporting Rule

Pigs and cattle in feedlots.

The Bush administration exempted certain large factory farms from a requirement to report emissions of noxious gases from animal waste, angering environmentalists and handing another policy victory to business interests before President-elect Barack Obama and his environmental team take office.

Under a rule change, the Environmental Protection Agency will allow so-called concentrated animal feeding operations — large scale factory farms — not to disclose to authorities when air emissions of hazardous substances like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide exceed certain levels when the source of those emissions is manure.

The agency's move...has stirred opposition from environmental groups and some members of Congress who worry that the EPA lacks information and a clear strategy for regulating mega-farms that have stirred controversy in some communities because of concerns about foul odors and water pollution...

ALSO SEE: EPA exempts farms from most toxic air release reports

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5. Fish & Wildlife Service Turns Its Back On Polar Bears
DATE: 12/11/08
SOURCE: Bush administration finalizes rule; blocks crucial polar bear protections

An adult polar bear with a cub on it's back.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will deny the polar bear the appropriate and necessary protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)...

Listing polar bears as threatened should help protect polar bear habitat from threats such as oil and gas development, which the Bush administration is aggressively pursuing in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska and has proposed in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (which provides the primary land denning habitat for polar bears).


Instead, the administration has made it clear with its 4(d) rule that the ESA will not provide any additional protections from these and other harmful activities than those that already exist under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and will provide no protection whatsoever against emissions of greenhouse gases that cause the rise in global temperatures that directly threaten polar bears. Specifically, the 4(d) rule eliminates some of the necessary protections for the polar bear and its habitat under the ESA, based on the incorrect assertion that the polar bear is adequately protected under other laws...

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6. FDA Was Just Kidding About A Ban On Animal Antibiotics
DATE: 12/9/08
SOURCE: FDA Calls Off Ban on Animal Antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration will allow the widespread use of a class of powerful antibiotics in food-producing animals, making a last-minute reversal after calling the practice a public-health risk in July. The agency's bid this summer to ban many uses of cephalosporin drugs in cows, swine, chickens and other animals came under fire from the industry. Agriculture groups and animal- drug makers, including Pfizer Inc., said the antibiotics are needed to prevent many infectious diseases in animals...

ALSO SEE: FDA revokes order prohibiting extra-label use of cephalosporin

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7. Snowmobiles In Yellowstone National Park - Let Em’ Rip!
DATE: 12/9/08
SOURCE: The Bush Administration’s Parting Shot for Yellowstone

Buffalo on a prairie.A last-minute regulation published by the Bush Administration opens Yellowstone National Park, the country's most famous sanctuary for wildlife, to significantly more harm from snowmobiles than a federal court rejected in September as unlawful. The regulation authorizes double the level of snowmobile use recommended just last month by scientists and park managers in the National Park Service.

 

The regulation joins a growing list of measures adopted by the White House in recent weeks that have weakened protections for citizens and the environment. A coalition of non-profit conservation organizations that advocates for lawful and science-based stewardship of Yellowstone today filed a challenge to the new regulation. The groups asked the same federal court...to require the National Park Service to uphold the fundamental purpose of the national park system "to conserve park resources and values..."

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8. Goodbye Flowing Streams, Hello Coal Mine Blasters
DATE: 12/2/08
SOURCE: EPA Signs Off on Controversial Rule to Allow Stream Destruction

The Environmental Protection Agency signed off on a controversial 11th hour repeal of the stream buffer zone rule, a law which since 1983 has prohibited surface coal mining activities within 100 feet of flowing streams. The repeal of this protection clears the way for an even greater expansion of mountaintop removal mining — mining coal by blasting off the tops of mountains, and bulldozing the crumbled peaks into adjoining valleys... EPA’s approval comes in spite of a recent wave of criticism directed generally at the outgoing administration’s midnight regulations...

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9. Drill Baby, Drill!
DATE: 12/2/08
SOURCE: U.S. to Open Public Land Near Parks for Drilling

The Bureau of Land Management has expanded its oil and gas lease program in eastern Utah to include tens of thousands of acres on or near the boundaries of three national parks, according to revised maps published this week. National Park Service officials say the decision to open lands close to Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park was made without consultation that had previously been routine.

The inclusion of the new lease tracts angered environmental groups, which were already critical of the bureau’s original lease proposal, made public this fall, because they said it could lead to industrial activity in empty areas of the state, some prized for their sweeping vistas, like Desolation Canyon, and others for their ancient petroglyphs, like Nine Mile Canyon...

ALSO SEE: Putting the “Public” Back in Public Lands

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10. Ask Incoming Obama Team For A Swift Repair Job
Let President-Elect Obama’s team know you are outraged by the Bush Admin’s gutting of animal protection and environmental laws. You will also not stand for an agriculture department composed of agribusiness executives regulating themselves — and sacrificing animal welfare for financial gain.

Ask them to un-do every item in this laundry list and to restore fundamental protections for endangered species. Ask them to fulfill a vision not only for people — but for animals and environment too.

Remind them: The treatment of animals matters to many Americans, including YOU. It should matter to our elected officials as well.

...And while you’re at it: How about repealing that idiotic Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act?

FIND AETA-RELATED RESOURCES, SAMPLE LETTERS HERE:
Coalition to Abolish the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
Equal Justice Alliance

CONTACT INFO FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA (DURING THE TRANSITION)
The Honorable Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States
John C. Kluczynski Federal Office Building
230 South Dearborn St., 38th Floor; Chicago, Illinois 60604

Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102; Chicago, IL 60680
Obama for America will only accept #10 envelopes.
All other mail will be returned to sender.
SOURCE: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/contact/

These Obama-related websites have live comment forms:
• SHARE YOUR VISION — http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision
• TRANSISTION TEAM / CONTACT — http://change.gov/page/content/contact/
• OBAMA FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN — http://answercenter.barackobama.com/cgi-bin/barackobama.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php
• CONTACT BARACK OBAMA.NET — info@BarackObama.net / SOURCE: barackobama.net/contact.html

AFTER 1/20/09 INAUGURATION: You may write to President Obama at The White House, and to appropriate cabinet members and agencies in Washington D.C.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
www.whitehouse.gov

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