The Obama administration, which promised to be the most outspoken defender of wildlife and wild spaces since Teddy Roosevelt, seems to be falling far short of the mark at the hands of Secretary Salizar. Though they started off strong by rescinding the last-minute oil leases the Bush administration had rubber-stamped, the track record since then hasn’t been terribly favorable. In fact, it could be said to be unconcerned.
The latest in this trend is Salizar’s statement that the Endangered Species Act’s protections are the wrong tools to be using against global warming. He said this in response to concerns about the polar bears. The problem, Mr. Salizar, is that the bears themselves need something done NOW, not when you get around to curing global warming. In fact, they’re one of the reasons we care about global warming. So get a tool, any tool, and get at doing SOMEthing. I’ll take the ESA as one. Or are you too dull a tool yourself?
If that seems overly harsh, realize that Mr. Salizar’s administration has also actively thwarted the efforts of several falconers to propagate species of eagles nad falcons. These well-intended raptor enthusiasts want to spend their own money to import and breed the birds in captivity, ensuring their genetic survival. But the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s CITES office prefers to respond by harassing them, burying them in paperwork for well over 6 months, when that same CITES paperwork is routinely completed by other countries in a matter of minutes. That’s just one of the many flaws and holes emerging in the Salizar story.
They say “The buck stops here.” In Mr. Salizar’s case, we’re left to wonder if he knows what the buck is, or even where it starts… and this writer begins to worry that perhaps we didn’t get the change we voted for after all.