April 25, 2009

Section 7 regs to be changed

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Interior Department has taken advantage of temporary Congressional authority to revisit the Bush Administration's new Section 7 regs, as Interior has sent to the Office of Management and Budget a final rule "revamping changes" done by the regulatory amendments.  In doing so, Interior has availed itself of the special authority conferred on it in the 2009 omnibus appropriations bill to redo the Section 7 regs without having to go through the normal notice and comment procedures.  Interestingly, Interior has declined to amend the polar bear 4(d) rule, even though Congress had also authorized it to make changes on that score.

The content of the final rule is not yet known.  But it's not surprising that Interior has chosen not to revisit the polar bear rule, given the Fish and Wildlife Service's recent pronouncement that it still has no desire to accept green house gas regulatory responsibility through the ESA.

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