"Dozens of conservation groups and nearly 100 scientists voiced opposition on Thursday to an Obama administration proposal they say would make it much harder for imperiled creatures to qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act."
"The proposed policy change, formally unveiled in December, stems from an ongoing dispute over the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, a small, rare bird whose range includes the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and a previous fight over the flat-tailed horned lizard in the California desert.
Critics say protection of imperiled plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act would be sharply curtailed by the administration's plan to reinterpret a key phrase of the 1973 statute, one of the pillars of U.S. environmental law."
Steve Gorman and Laura Zuckerman report for Reuters March 12, 2012.
"Feds, Conservationists Clash Over Endangered Species Act Definition" (ENS)