Good News for Endangered Species

More than a dozen species have a new lease on life this week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reviewed eight key decisions -- and reversed seven of them -- which it said were "inappropriately influenced" over the three-year tenure of its then-deputy assistant secretary Julie A. MacDonald, a political appointee who resigned from the agency last May.

In announcing the decision, acting Fish and Wildlife Director Kenneth Stansell wrote that the cases were reviewed "after questions were raised about the integrity of scientific information used and whether the decisions were made consistent with the appropriate legal standards."

According to the AP, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. and Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, called MacDonald's "work" at Fish & Wildlife an example of "this administration's penchant for torpedoing science."

Species benefiting from this review include the white-tailed prairie dog, Preble's meadow jumping mouse, southwestern willow flycatcher, California red-legged frog, Arroyo toad, Canada lynx and 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wing flies. Most of these decisions related to establishing "critical habitat" for the species' recoveries.