Seizing on the recent proposed revisions to the Endangered Species Act
presumptive presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) today unveiled a
new and ambitious energy plan.
"Prices at the pump are just outrageous but the Democrats will tell you
that we can't do anything about it. Democrats will tell you we have an oil
shortage and that there is an energy crisis, "said Sen. McCain. "My friends,
fossil fuels are made from fossils. We don't have an oil shortage, we have a
fossil shortage. We need to make more fossils. We need to take all these
so-called endangered species and get some use out of them. Let's turn them
into fossils. We need to approve these minor little revisions to the
Endangered Species Act immediately. Burying those animals will lower gas
prices by tomorrow morning. Dig here! Dig now!"
The proposed revisions to the Endangered Species Act mentioned by Sen.
McCain would, for the first time ever, give federal agencies authority to
make decisions affecting endangered species without needing to consult
scientific experts. For example, if chickens were an endangered species and
there were a federal agency of foxes, this same agency would evaluate
whether they, as foxes, felt there was any need for henhouse protection; if
the agency foxes decided there was no appreciable danger to hens, the agency
would then proceed with its plans without need for outside input.
The Bush Administration evidently not only sees no problem with this, but
their eleventh hour "minor revision" to the Act also breaks new ground in
having an unprecedentedly short 30-day window for public comment. The
administration refuses to accept e-mail comments on the proposed revision or
to hold any public hearing on the matter. The Administration will accept
comments through snail mail (no doubt to demonstrate their abiding
commitment to the health and safety of the endangered snail darter).
Another way to comment on the proposed revisions is on a special government
website. Under Public Availability of Commentshttp://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fr/fr73-47868.pdf
it is stated that the
commentator's personal information (such as name, address, phone number and
e-mail address) may be made "publicly available at any time," and that while
the citizen can ask, in the comment itself, that this personal information
be withheld from public view, "we cannot guarantee that we will be able to
"In other words, even though your home-town newspaper can deal with 'Name
Withheld By Request,' and a mail-order company run from someone's dining
room table provides certain privacy safeguards, such measures are way beyond
the capabilities of the U.S. Government. Besides, the Bush Administration
feels it is a good thing if people worry that their personal info might be
put on the Internet if they comment on these revisions. From where we sit,
it's the very best way to promote our kind of democracy," said an
unidentified senior administration spokesman.