Kempthorne says he's scapped big effort to eviscerate endangered species act

The Department of Interior’s plans to completely re-write the rules implementing the ESA were recently exposed by Salon Magazine. Now Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne says he’s done away with that.

Nevertheless, the Department remains hostile as evidenced by its continuing efforts to delist the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies to unprotective state wolf management regimes. See the earlier story on how they caved to Wyoming.

Government Scraps Species Law Changes. CBS News.

Update (May 27). In an article about Secretary Kempthorne in the Idaho Statesman today this quote appears as the paper reported that Kempthorne has scrapped the plans to rewrite the ESA regulations: But White House officials, asked this week about the administration’s position on the Endangered Species Act, referred reporters to a proposal championed by ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., intended to give landowners more rights and reduce litigation. Informed of that, Kempthorne smiled and said, “That’s interesting.”






  1. mikarooni Avatar

    Having learned, through age and painful experience, to be a suspicious sort, my first concern is that there is another scheme being played out here; however, my more recent experience with and in watching the Bushies is that Kempthorne’s “that’s interesting” comment may just be another example of how this administration can’t even get or keep it’s own internal story straight long enough to work a scheme. My friends keep admonishing me to be careful about ascribing to conspiracy what can easily be explained by incompetence and, with this administration, I am learning to listen to that kind of advice more and more. Yes, Kempthorne and the rest of this administration is foul, treacherous, untrustworthy, scheming, and corrupt, willing to engage in any form of filth. On the other hand, they are also complete bumbling idiots who can’t even work their own schemes with any intelligence or talent, which limits their capability even to sink to their own worst fantasies of depravity, and therein may be our best protection.

  2. be Avatar

    perhaps the law changes are not worth the political capital at this point, but this administration has shown little hesitation with breaking the law, especially when there is no punitive mechanism to deter such egregious administration – the resources expended litigating such moves have prevented much of their illegal negligence of the law from standing, but funds to protect the act are zero-sum. whether bumbling idiots or steadfast saboteurs, whether a direct change in the law takes place or the institutional integrity of agencies is politically compromised to the extent that we witness – the damage is being done toward the same end.

  3. kt Avatar

    The program being pursued by the Bush Admin across the Board is Destroy as much as possible while you still have Power. Just like the recent post on the Kempthorne Interior Deptartment having just ok’ed many more new oil and gas wells.

    Pursue a program of sage grouse extirpation and extinction – and you won’t have to go to the bother of changing any pesky Endangered Species Act.

    De-list and wipe out as many wolf, grizzly populations as possible while you can. De-list, open up the habitat to development, and you make sure that the “trouble”/impediments caused to Oil and Gas, cattlemen, developers, etc. by any ESA species once Bush and crew are all finally gone will be minimized. No wonder Kempthorne is smiling …

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Every Administration has its incompetents, and its ideological purists, and those trying to subvert the public interest for their private gain.
    This was especially common in the 19th century, but the Administration of George W. Bush is unparalleled in the last 90 years for this.
    The revelation that much of the Dept. of Justice has been staffed by graduates of Pat Robertson’s law school, rather than Yale, Harvard, and the great state universities is amazing.
    I don’t think the attack on the ESA, the coddling of ranchers, and wholesale destruction of the West by the oil industry comes straight from the White House.
    It’s not a conspiracy per se, but KT certainly points to the general direction, they set. They appoint the most reactionary (meaning turn the clock back) politicians to fill the jobs, along with some crooks like Griles, a sprinkling of religious fundamentalists, and these policies emerge.
    It’s not a conspiracy, and because of their incompetence and lack of belief in the rule of law, they lose most of the lawsuits brought against them. However, by sheer inertia they are trashing the West. After they are gone there is going to have to be a lot of cleanup, if it’s possible. And I think we need to settle some scores.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan