Effective partial repeal of new Section 7 regs
Yesterday, the Obama Administration issued an executive order requesting all federal agencies to initiate consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service under ESA Section 7 according to the regulatory rules in effect prior to the Bush Administration's promulgation of the new Section 7 regs last December. The order lasts until the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce complete their review of the new regs to determine whether to initiate formal withdrawal of those same regs. The executive order comes after last week's House vote on a provision in a budget bill that would authorize the president to withdraw the Section 7 regs in their entirety without having to observe the normal procedural constraints of the APA.
It's important to note, however, that the executive order does not affect the remaining new Section 7 regs, such as those dealing with assessing a project's effects on global climate change.