A bipartisan trio of senators proposed legislation Tuesday to ease the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and give administration officials more discretion in deciding how and when to protect wildlife.
Environmentalists and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt were quick to denounce the bill.
The authors - Sens. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Bennett Johnston, D-La. - said their bill would restore balance to a law that in the past has ignored the economic impact on humans of protecting endangered wildlife.
Environmental groups and Babbitt said the bill would trash the law that has been credited with saving the bald eagle and dozens of other species over the past two decades.