Phil Taylor, ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY PUBLISHING
In general, environmental groups found some provisions to like — but far more to dislike — in the draft policy, which is seen as requiring species to meet a higher threshold for protections.
The Obama administration today released a final policy to guide government scientists in determining whether wildlife species deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act, making a substantive change to a draft policy released 2½ years ago.
The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service policy will dictate when wildlife is granted federal protection and, if so, where.The legally binding policy, which takes effect in about a month, offers guidance for interpreting when a critter is in danger of extinction "throughout all or a significant portion of its range," a key, albeit oft-debated, phrase in the 1973 law.
It specifically applies to situations in which a species is not imperiled throughout all its range but is in trouble in a vital portion of it. The agencies’ draft policy issued in late 2011 would essentially have raised the threshold for when a species is considered to be threatened or endangered in a "significant portion" of its range Greenwire, Dec. 8, 2011.