Presidential administrations do much under the radar of the news media. Bureaucratic regulations and decisions are not the stuff of headlines or a 20 minute evening news broadcast. An article today in the Washington Post demonstrates the importance to wildlife of some of these bureaucratic decisions. For instance, the Lake Sammamish kokanee was refused an “emergency” listing on the Endangered Species list by the current administration. The last member of the species died in 2001. It is now extinct. Just last year a species of pygmy rabbits became extinct after the Department of Interior refused to protect critical habitat.
While Bald Eagles are doing well in most places, they are not in the Arizona Sonoran Desert. It took a court order to make the Fish and Wildlife Service relist them as threatened — in spite of the agency’s own internal documents indicating that they should be relisted.
No matter what your politics, the article is important. Farmers, ranchers, land-owners and some businesses resist environmental bureaucracies because they can slow — and, in some cases, stop — money-making developments. Hunters, fishers, and birders are often on the other side, believing that nature should be left to herself as much as possible and protected from the ravages of mankind. These are complicated issues, often resolved far from the public’s eyes. Elections matter.