Six Senate Democrats and an Independent want the Interior Dept. to withdraw a proposed endangered-species rule. The lawmakers told Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in an Aug. 25 letter that at a minimum the comment period should be lengthened from the current Sept. 15 to next February. That would push the issue past the Bush administration’s tenure.
The lawmakers, who include Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), contend,“The proposed changes...would reduce rather than strengthen protections for imperiled fish and wildlife.” Interior spokesperson Chris Paolino says, “We’ll review the letter. We will take the senators’ view into consideration, and we will respond to them at an appropriate time.”