11 Feb 2010, 3:00pm
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Obama Budget Retools FWS for Warming World

By PATRICK REIS AND ALLISON WINTER of Greenwire, NY Times, February 10, 2010 [here]

Despite a backlog of endangered species issues and a host of current lawsuits, the Fish and Wildlife Service plans to focus firmly on the future.

“The budget does reflect a switch in our priorities,” said Chris Nolin, head of the service’s budget division. “Our primary focus is reorienting the agency so we can address climate change. We need to start looking at climate change in everything we do. That was really the focus of this budget.”

The Obama administration has proposed redirecting cash and personnel toward climate research and acquisition of land that would become corridors for wildlife moving as temperatures rise and habitat changes. Some wildlife biologists and environmental groups have welcomed the change, but the agency’s budget worries other environmentalists who are concerned the agency may lose ground on endangered species protection.

“We support climate change adaptation. We support renewable energy development. But none of that should be done at the expense of real protections for species,” said Noah Greenwald, director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species program. “With the added threat of climate change, endangered species need even more protection.”

Fish and Wildlife Director Sam Hamilton said the new investment is not intended to take away from the rest of the agency’s work. Rather, he wants to bolster FWS’s mission to conserve wildlife by calling on the agency’s 9,000 employees to make climate change planning central in their work.

The heart of the effort is a new program, “landscape conservation cooperatives,” which is aimed at uniting federal agencies, states, nonprofits and universities to advise on the service’s regional management decisions. Theirs will be the “daunting task,” Hamilton said, of helping design strategic regional conservation plans that consider the impact of rising temperatures, water scarcity, disease and invasive species on plants and animals.

The agency plans to launch eight cooperatives this year and to expand the initiative later to cover 21 landscape regions. The budget includes $29 million for climate change planning and science, a 45 percent increase over levels in fiscal 2010, when the program launched. Much of that money would go to the landscape cooperatives.

The budget also makes a significant deposit on land acquisition, $106 million, a boost of nearly 12 percent above last year’s levels. After years of diminished funding for buying land, Hamilton said he wants to restore land-purchasing programs with a eye toward creating refuges for species being driven out of their native ranges by climate change. … [more]

Note: Junk science leads to junk policies. Obama is using the AGW hoax to further his Marxist anti-private property ends. The government owns too much land already, but is hell-bent on garnering more. The government land rush will not save a single cricket, but it will lead to more megafire destruction.

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