Yesterday, a popular Florida newspaper published my commentary about the federal government’s bad habit of ignoring the Endangered Species Act. In the case of the manatee, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has delayed changing its status from “endangered” to “threatened” for more than eight years since the agency’s own experts first said it was no longer in danger of extinction. During that time, the number of manatees in Florida alone nearly doubled. As I say in the op-ed:
By 2007, the government’s scientific experts came back with a positive report about the West Indian manatee. It had recovered from the threat of extinction that had led to its listing 30 years earlier.
In other words, the beloved sea cow no longer needed to be labeled “endangered.”
One would think federal officials would toast this happy news. But instead of popping corks, they buried their heads and proposed even heavier manatee-related restrictions on people using the state’s waters.
In response to lawsuits and a petition filed by PLF on behalf of a local community group, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally proposed a rule that would downlist the species. Read the whole article.