SEATTLE, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge in Seattle has struck down a Bush administration plan to bypass federal wildlife officials in the licensing procedure for pesticides.
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour sided with nine environmental groups in ruling the plan to streamline the approval process by eliminating impact reviews clearly violates the Endangered Species Act, The Los Angeles Times reported.
"Pesticides are driving America's wildlife toward extinction," Patti Goldman of the law firm Earthjustice who represented the coalition that sued the Interior Department over the change two years ago, told the Times.
A 2004 rule issued by the Bush administration allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to bypass federal wildlife biologists in an effort to shorten the licensing procedure.
In his ruling Thursday, Coughenour acknowledged the difficulty of the consultation process but said the Bush administration was "arbitrary and capricious" in dropping it, the newspaper said.
He also said there was a "total absence of any technical and scientific evidence to support or justify" the administration's decision to bypass the reviews.