Equal Rights for Plants
The California Native Plant Society is circulating a letter calling for equal protection for plants under the federal Endangered Species Act. The ESA gives animal species a higher level of protection while plant species are protected in only limited circumstances. For more info see http://www.cnps.org/lma/equal_protection.htm (GREENLines, 28 June 1999).
New ESA Bill Introduced
The AP 7/2 reported Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) introduced a bill (S.1305), the Endangered Species Listing and Delisting Reform Act, which requires "collection and use of the best scientific data" when listing a species under the Endangered Species Act. Thomas is critical of the inclusion of the five Wyoming counties as part of the historical range of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse. He contends the scientific data does not support the claim. The FWS said the currently law already requires many items included in Thomas' bill, such as a public comment period and peer review of scientific data. (GREENLine, 6 July 1999).
Albuquerque May Fight Critical Habitat
The 7/1 Albuquerque Journal reported Mayor Jim Baca is considering going to court to oppose the recent designation of critical habitat for the endangered silvery minnow along the Rio Grande River. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated over 163 miles of the river as critical habitat after environmentalists sued and won in court. The New Mexico State Engineer has also promised to sue to delay or overturn the designation. (GREENLines, 8 July 1999).
Eagle Delisting Questioned in Southwest
Knight-Ridder Newspapers 6/3 reported some biologists fear a delisting of the bald eagle from the Endangered Species Act may result in renewed declines in Southeastern populations. The bird's favored nesting habitat along coasts and shorelines is popular with real estate developers. Unlike the ESA, other federal laws protecting the bird do not adequately protect its habitat. (GREENLines, 9 July 1999)
No Surprises Records to Be Revealed
The Spirit of the Sage Council announced 7/15 a federal judge ordered the Departments of Interior and Commerce to hand over records relating to a recent change in the No Surprises policy. The agencies recently modified the No Surprises policy after the Council challenged the policy in court. No Surprises gives landowners assurances against additional necessary actions to protect endangered or threatened species beyond what is required in their Habitat Conservation Plan. Environmentalists contend this changing conditions and scientific knowledge and could contribute to the extinction of species. (GREENLines, 16 July 1999)
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