Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wishing Bush was extinct

Anybody else disturbed by the juxtaposition of the following two articles, both from November 20th? (emphasis in excerpts added)

Bush to relax endangered species regulations before Obama can reverse them

{Note: The rules had to be published by midnight Friday Nov. 21 to take effect before Obama is sworn in Jan. 20. Otherwise, he can undo them with the stroke of a pen. I guess we'll know when we wake up Saturday whether or not the administration published them as intended......}
WASHINGTON - Animals and plants in danger of becoming extinct could lose the protection of government experts who make sure that dams, highways and other projects don't pose a threat, under a regulation the Bush administration is set to put in place before President-elect Obama can reverse them. . . . . . The Interior Department rushed to complete the rules in three months over the objections of lawmakers and environmentalists who argued that they would weaken how a landmark conservation law is applied. . . . . . The rules eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, allowing the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself it is likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.

Current regulations require wildlife biologists to sign off on these decisions before a project can go forward, at times modifying the design to better protect species.

The regulations also bar federal agencies from assessing emissions of the gases blamed for global warming on species and habitats, a tactic environmentalists have tried to use to block new coal-fired power plants. . .

. . . If the rules go into effect before Obama takes office, they will be difficult to overturn since it would require the new administration to restart the rule-making process. Congress, however, could reverse the rules through the Congressional Review Act — a law that allows review of new federal regulations. . . .

.........(read full article here)

Scientists map out woolly mammoth DNA
The project marks the first time a prehistoric creature's genetic code has been deciphered. The breakthrough could someday be used to bring back extinct species.
Associated Press
November 20, 2008

Bringing "Jurassic Park" one step closer to reality, scientists have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth, a feat they say could allow them to recreate the shaggy prehistoric beast in as little as a decade or two.

The project marks the first time researchers have spelled out the DNA of an extinct species, and it raises the possibility that other ancient animals such as mastodons and saber-toothed tigers might someday walk the Earth again.

"It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?" asked Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemist and co-author of the new research. "I would be surprised to see if it would take more than 10 or 20 years to do it.

.........(read full article here)

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