Chicago (IL) - On Tuesday, Barack Obama restored protections for several endangered species reversing one of the last minute changes made during the Bush administration. "For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation's most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it -- not weaken it," Obama said.
The change in rule made last year in the middle of December, left government agencies responsible for making decisions regarding whether or not logging or mining operations and new dams were a threat to the habitats or endangered species themselves.
The rule also deemed that the impact of a project on climate change was not a factor when considering the impact on wildlife in the area.
These changes reportedly set the United States back 35 years. Prior to the finality of the rule in December 2008, it had been a requirement that government biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service (or another agency) deliver a threat assessment prior to commencing any project.
Bush felt that these protections were a threat to the economy. When discussing his decision, Obama stated that he felt there was no conflict between economic development and the protection of endangered species.
"Throughout our history, there's been a tension between those who've sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, and those who have sought to profit from these resources," Obama said. "This is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and preserve the environment."
Environmentalists have welcomed the restoration. However, some businesses have stated plans to explore the option of legal action against Obama's decision as they feel it is a road-block in projects that could aid in getting the economy flowing again.
It has been Obama's stance since taking office that he would allow science to drive the environmental policy of his administration. This memo serves as the latest in a series of actions by the White House to undo acts by the Bush administration.