Their decision requires federal agencies to once again consult with federal wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- the two agencies that administer the ESA -- before taking any action that may affect threatened or endangered species.
Statement by Trip Van Noppen, president Earthjustice:
"Today's announcement by the Obama administration returns science to its rightful place as the bedrock of this nation's environmental laws.
"During the Bush administration, the American people witnessed a concerted effort by special interests to undermine protection for some of this nation's most venerable, and vulnerable, species. The Bush proposal allowed agencies with no training in biology to make decisions that would have put entire species at risk of extinction.
"By reinstating the full effect of the Endangered Species Act, Americans will continue to enjoy bald eagles, grizzly bears, and manatees which were on the brink of extinction just years ago. Science needs to be our guide when it comes to protecting threatened and endangered plants and animals."