By Dan Shapley
Critics Say Law To Protect Plants And Animals Is Being Weakened
The de-listing of the bald eagle -- technical jargon for taking the nation's symbol of the Endangered Species list -- caused a moment of jubilation among wildlife advocates, government officials and the public. And then it passed. Now, advocates have renewed their call for strengthening the Endangered Species Act -- or at least leaving it intact. They say it's being weakened by the Bush Administration's policies, and that perennial assaults from Congress continually threaten it. And all this at a time when the best example of success is staring Americans in the face. Across the lower 48 states, bald eagles are back. They're nesting along river valleys and around reservoirs, courting in the open air, raising eaglets and delighting onlookers. With the memory near of the bad old times, when eagle numbers plummeted due to hunting, habitat loss and pesticide use, the success of the bald eagle's recovery should be a time to reflect on how well the Endangered Species Act can work, and to ensure that it is put to its best purpose.