Animals & Money: How much does the endangered species act cost?

This week President Obama brought science back into the Endangered Species Act, effectively overturning a wild diversion of the law by the Bush administration last summer. Bush decided that federal officials didn't have to bother to consult with scientists when they decided whether logging or mining would impact a species on the brink of extinction. And at the time Bush didn't even want to consult with the public, ramming it though in 30 days, accepting public comment only by snailmail. Rolling Stone called it Bush's last-minute regulatory spree a "final F.U." to the country and the gutting of the ESA "the most jaw-dropping" part. Hundreds of thousands of people wrote in despite the obstacles -- and Bush pretty much ignored them.

"Throughout our history, there's been a tension between those who've sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, and those who have sought to profit from these resources. But I'm here to tell you this is a false choice," Obama said. Republicans, who hate the Endangered Species Act like it was some kind of flag-burning illegal immigrant lesbian, have long contended that the law costs more money than its worth.