Monday ESA news


The last couple of days have seen some interesting ESA-related news items. Of note:

An editorial in Sunday's Casper Star-Tribune argues that, in response to a federal court order to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for the northern rocky mountain gray wolf, Wyoming should revise its own wolf management policy, rather than continue to battle the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the wolf's status. The article suggests classifying wolves throughout Wyoming as trophy game instead of predators. If this scheme were to occur, ranchers would be somewhat restricted in how they can protect their livestock from wolves. Although the editorial states that "[r]anchers would still be able to kill wolves that destroy cattle and sheep," it contradicts itself in the next sentence by noting that "in most instances, state wildlife would do the killing."

Yesterday's Cape Cod Online contains a story on federal issues pertaining to the Cape Wind project. Several federal agencies are involved in the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. Last week FWS's biological opinion concluded that the project would not jeopardize the continued existence of piping plovers and roseate terns.

And in Saturday's Gainseville Times there was a nice summary of the tri-state water rights litigation. Included in the story is Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's perspective on Florida's claim that it should receive more water in order for federal water projects to be in compliance with the Endangered Species Act:

In Georgia, "you have a … pristine, undeveloped coastline with marshes there that people love to look out on," he said. "And then I come to Florida, and I see the developed coastline all the way around from Jacksonville all the way up to Tallahassee. I really wonder how we can be preached at as Georgians over environmentalism and water."

Perdue also said Florida should just say what there argument is really all about: answering to the area’s commercial fishing industry.

"Utilizing the endangered species act as a weapon in this battle is somewhat disingenuous. We know what this is about, we know its about the bay and the quality of the bay and the oysters and that very powerful, very loud political constituency," Perdue said. "Let’s don’t try to make it about a federal law that really it’s not all about, about mussels or about sturgeons."