allow federal agencies to avoid consultation with the Fish & Wildlife Service when the effects on a listed species or its designated critical habitat "[a]re not capable of being meaningfully identified or detected in a manner that permits evaluation." And who gets to make the decision about whether that criterion is met? You guessed it. The agency who wants to do something that will affect a listed species.
The attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, thinks that's a bad idea.
SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today warned the U.S. Department of the Interior for a second time that its proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act could put "entire species and ecosystems at risk for complete destruction," after the initial warnings were ignored by the Department. The Attorney General believes that the Bush Administration's proposed changes are in violation of federal law and could gut the scientific review process of the Endangered Species Act.
"In its final days in office, the Bush Administration is trying to make wholesale changes to the Endangered Species Act," Attorney General Brown said. "The Bush Administration wants to eliminate a requirement in the Endangered Species Act that mandates scientific review and consultation of any land-use decision that might threaten endangered species and their habitats. These proposed changes are unlawful, contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act, and put entire species and ecosystems at risk for complete destruction. The Administration should abandon this effort, or at the very least, complete a full Environmental Impact Statement."
You can read the full text of Brown's letter here.