Adjust Text Size
Media Center

Media Center

Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman - Stay Connected with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and RSS Feeds
The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Markey to Bush Admin: Don't Rush Endangered Species Process

Markey to Bush Admin.: Don’t Rush Endangered Species Process

Public Comment Review Process “Reckless”, Says Chairman

WASHINGTON (October 23, 2008) – In response to reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to review 300,000 public comments on changes to Endangered Species Act rules in just four days, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, sent a letter to the director of the U.S. F&WS today asking him to stop this “reckless” process.

The proposed rule changes would undermine the Section 7 consultation requirements in the Act and exclude global warming emissions as a consideration for listing animals like polar bears under ESA, even though global warming has been recognized by the Bush administration as a main cause for listing the bear as threatened under ESA earlier this year.

“Predictably, the Bush administration is trying to ram through anti-environmental laws in its final days in office, and this is yet another example of their agenda. Attempting to read hundreds of thousands of public comments in a matter of hours is odd given that the Bush administration budget has never contained any money for speed reading classes,” said Chairman Markey. “After taking years to make a decision on the polar bear and other Endangered Species Act listings, the Bush administration is now taking hours to completely roll back key protections in this cornerstone of our environmental laws.”

The letter is pasted below.

Mr. Dale Hall
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Director Hall:

I am writing to strongly oppose the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) reported plan to dramatically shorten the review of public comments submitted on the Agency’s proposed rule changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This proposed regulation and all associated public comments must receive the proper level of review.

According to an article published yesterday by the Associated Press, the director of the FWS Endangered Species Program sent a letter to Fish and Wildlife managers outlining the Administration’s plan to read through the approximately 300,000 public comments on the proposed rule change over the course of four work days this week. To attempt to read through this volume of public comments in such a truncated period of time, including comments submitted by myself and 80 other Members of Congress, seems arbitrary and capricious. Moreover, such a hasty review seems certain to ensure that the public will not be properly heard in evaluating this proposed significant change to one of our nation’s most important environmental laws.

While agencies typically spend months reviewing public comments on proposed regulations, it can only be surmised that the reason for FWS’ desire to drastically speed up this process is in order to finalize this rule change before the end of the current Administration. A change of this magnitude to the ESA should not be done in such a reckless, haphazard fashion. The e-mail sent on October 16, 2008 states that “The team needs to compile the comments, review the[m] (sic) and categorize them and then provide them to the Department for their analysis and preparing responses.” For the FWS biologists with expertise on this issue to not participate in analyzing and responding to the public comments raises significant concerns that the Administration, which has a history of politicizing ESA decisions, will allow politics to again trump science in making this decision.

You must immediately halt the reckless review process that your agency is undertaking and review the public comments on the proposed regulations with proper care. Please respond by October 30, 2008 with the actions you are taking to ensure that thorough consideration of the public comments on this proposed major change to the ESA. 


Edward J. Markey



Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Select Committee

PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

Return to Press Releases »

Add to your   Digg this story Digg this   Reddit Reddit   Stumble it Stumbleupon  

 Print This Page