On 28 April 2009, the Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced that they would reverse a controversial Bush administration Endangered Species Act (ESA) rule change promulgated in December 2008. The rule would have made it easier for federal agencies to forgo scientific consultation with federal biologists when issuing permits for new transportation, mining, logging, and various other activities.
The consultation process now returns to that used until December 2008. Meanwhile, the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce will conduct a review of the regulations to determine whether a new consultation process is needed. The original regulations required that all federal agencies consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the two agencies that administer the ESA, before undertaking any new activities.
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