May 27, 2016

Feds' excuses weak in 'turtle-grate' affair

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney

Who knew that the federal government could sit for nine years on a simple request to install an endangered-turtle-protecting grate? Each day, an endangered turtle finds itself sucked into an inflow pipe at the nuclear power plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. For over nine years, the owner of the plant has waited for the feds to approve a simple, turtle-protecting grate to prevent many of those turtles from the pipe. You would think that a government that spends millions of dollars prosecuting Americans for violating the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws could find its way to save endangered turtles when it had the authority and power to do so. But you would be wrong.

Which brings me to my piece in today’s Stuart News, which the paper titled, Feds excuses weak in ‘turtle-grate’ affair. In commenting on this ridiculous turtle situation in PLF’s Atlantic Center’s backyard, I wrote:

If a private property owner similarly delayed taking action to protect an endangered species or, worse yet, took action that led to an endangered species incurring injuries, then that private property owner would face serious penalties under the Endangered Species Act. But here, the federal government fails to act, endangered turtles are injured and some killed, and yet absolutely no penalties befall the agency responsible for these Endangered Species Act violations.

That news would shock you if you had not already heard that the feds consider themselves above the environmental laws, as my PLF colleague Jonathan Wood so ably pointed out here in his opinion piece on the Gold King Mine – Animas River disaster.

Pacific Legal Foundation‘s Atlantic Center considers Florida‘s Stuart News its local daily newspaper, since we base our office here on what is known as Florida’s Treasure Coast. For that reason, we appreciate when its editors run our opinion pieces on government run amok. Unfortunately, we never run out of good examples to write about.

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