Yesterday, Vice President Cheney spoke at the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy in Reno, NV, claiming that the Bush administration has championed wildlife preservation:
As all of you know very well, President Bush made wildlife conservation an early and a high priority of his administration. We’ve carried out that commitment in these eight years — and we’ve been proud to have people like you as partners in the enterprise.
The men and women in this room understand what conservation is all about. It means reverence toward creation, and a commitment to faithful stewardship. It means guarding our spectacular wildlife populations — not just for our own time, but for all time.
In fact, the League of Conservation Voters concludes that the Bush administration “has arguably been the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history.” Some highlights of officials putting special interests over wildlife:
— Rules proposed by the Bush administration would effectively gut the Endangered Species Act, no longer requiring federal agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine whether a project would harm an endangered species.
— Earlier this year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used his power to waive federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, in order to expedite building the U.S.-Mexico border fence.
— In September, a federal judge dealt the Bush administration a setback by ruling that its plan “to allow more than 500 snowmobiles a day into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks was not in keeping with the National Park Service’s responsibility to protect the parks” and would disturb wildlife.
— In March 2007, Salon reported that the Bush administration had “granted 57 species endangered status, the action in each case being prompted by a lawsuit. That’s fewer than in any other administration in history.”
— In a 2005 survey, Fish and Wildlife scientists reported that they had been “forced to alter or withhold findings that would have led to greater protections for endangered species.”
Bush had originally been scheduled to speak at the conference but sent Cheney instead at the last minute. “In my place I have sent my favorite hunter,” Bush explained, alluding to Cheney’s 2006 hunting accident.