Accessibility links

Obama Restores Endangered Species Policy

U.S. President Barack Obama has revoked an endangered species policy established by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Obama said Tuesday he signed a measure that restores rules requiring independent assessments of the impact of government projects on endangered plants and wildlife.

Mr. Obama made the announcement at the U.S. Interior Department in a speech commemorating the 160th anniversary of the agency. He said the work of scientists and experts within his administration would be respected.

President Obama said the measure will help restore the scientific process.

In late 2008, the Bush administration changed a long-standing policy under the Endangered Species Act. The change allowed federal agencies to decide for themselves on whether projects posed risks to endangered species.

In the memorandum signed Tuesday, Mr. Obama calls for the secretaries of the Interior and Commerce Departments to review the regulation issued in December 2008.

Earlier Tuesday, in a visit to the Department of Transportation, Mr. Obama spoke about projects being funded under the massive stimulus bill he signed into law two weeks ago. He said work to restore the nation's highways are already getting under way.

The president said the recovery plan will put $28 billion into the highway system - an investment he says will create or save 150,000 jobs by the end of next year, mostly in the private sector. He said the administration will launch more than 200 construction projects in the next few weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP