Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced this week that he would not reverse the Bush Administration's decision to remove gray wolves in the northern Rockies from the endangered species list. The Washington Post reports on the resulting controversy:
The wolf proposal was published just weeks before Bush left office, then suspended under a broad directive by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said Salazar had followed the unanimous recommendation of Fish and Wildlife Service scientists in setting the new policy, rather than letting political factors influence him. "This was a decision based on science," she said. . . .
"Making the decision to adopt the Bush administration's flawed delisting proposal the same week that the president pledged his commitment to the Endangered Species Act certainly calls into question whether the Interior Department was coordinating as closely as one would expect to have done with the White House," said Bob Irvin, senior vice president for conservation programs at the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife. "This was a controversy that did not need to happen."
One House Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, framed it in even more blunt political terms. "I just don't see what this does for us," the lawmaker said. "Here we are alienating people who did the most -- who did a lot to help us in the last election."