This guest post is from Josh Dorner of the Sierra Club.
While I'm readying myself to party like it's 1999 in celebration of Endangered Species Day today, it seems that the Department of Interior continues to think up new and exciting ways to avoid protecting those same species.
While top-level officials at Interior were too busy shacking up with their subordinates, doing the bidding of disgraced lobbyists, overruling scientists, and sharing confidential documents with industry lobbyists or random strangers they met through internet role-playing games, some endangered species become so endangered they in fact became extinct! The Lake Sammamish Kokanee salmon, for one, died out completely while the Bush administration drug its feet during the listing process.
Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett became the latest Bush administration official to be called on the carpet in front of Congress. During her grilling she defended the actions of political appointees who rewrote reports based not on science, but on political expediency.
Also dismissed were concerns that the agency was attempting to gut the Endangered Species Act from within since former Rep. Pombo's efforts to do so from without failed. She also repeatedly claimed that the departure of disgraced former official Julie MacDonald meant an end to the problems at Interior. As if! (Check out the Sierra Club's work to protect special creatures here.)
It looks like the only endangered species that the Bush administration is interested in protecting are its own corrupt appointees.