Obama Steps Up For Wildlife

02/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Some good news today. President Obama has halted measures that would eliminate Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in the northern Rockies. This memo, sent by Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, was issued Tuesday to all agencies and executive departments commanding them to stop all proposed actions until a full policy review could be executed by the current administration.

This measure is a clear step in the right direction. By stopping the slaughter of wolves in the lower 48 states, we are one step closer to a clearer understanding of wildlife needs. While the Bush administration put into effect a changed Endangered Species Act days before he left office, the threat to the wolves in the Rocky Mountains wasn't scheduled to be published until January 27th. Thankfully, diligent groups like Earthjustice and Center for Biological Diversity were ready to seize the moment for protection and review.

The Emanual memo, according to Patti Goldman, Vice President of Program for Earthjustice, said the wolf delisting rule will be withdrawn. This delisting was pushed through despite a ruling by a federal district court which declared the act illegal in July.

Due to the "midnight regulations" of the Bush administration, many new environmental rules were published before they could be easily reversed. U.S. federal law mandates a 60-day waiting period before any major regulatory changes become law, thus many outgoing presidents try to publish new rules in November in order for them to be tougher for the new president to undo.

The challenges are still great for the Endangered Species Act, but with any luck, President Obama's current decision for the gray wolves is definitely a step in the right direction.