The report, "America's Top 40: A Call to Action for the Nation's Most Imperiled Species," (PDF) argues that the federal government has repeatedly failed to protect a list of species it deems imperiled, some of which have not been spotted in years.
According to WildEarth Guardians, species on the Top 40 list have been waiting for ESA protection for an average of 13 years, with some waiting as long as 21 years.
A 2008 report in the Washington Post found that the George W. Bush administration placed "pervasive bureaucratic obstacles" in the way of species seeking protection under the ESA. According to the Post, personnel in the Interior Department (the department overseeing ESA protection) "were barred from using information in agency files that might support new listings." Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin noted in the piece that Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton listed an average of 58 and 62 species, respectively, as endangered per year. The most recent Bush administration listed only 59 species in more than 7 years.
In an April 30 press release about the "America's Top 40" report, WildEarth Guardians cites the Obama administration for not acting more proactively in its first 100 days to protect species denied shelter under Bush. Dr. Nicole Rosmarino, who serves as the organization's Wildlife Program Director, notes that the Obama administration could grant temporary emergency protection to the species on the Top 40 list, but has not.
The Obama administration has taken steps to rescind some of Bush's environmental policy. Last month, the Obama administration reversed a last-minute rule change by Bush that abolished a policy requiring federal agencies to confer with government scientists before doing anything that might affect imperiled species.
WildEarth Guardians' "America's Top 40" report (PDF)