August 4, 2014

PLF sees common sense in manatee lawsuit

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney
Members of Save Crystal River, Inc.
Members of Save Crystal River, Inc.

The Palm Beach Post published a PLF Atlantic Center op-ed today regarding our most recent win in the federal courts of Florida earlier this summer.  In that suit, we represented Save Crystal River, Inc., in its effort to require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to abide by the Endangered Species Act.  The op-ed begins:

A legal team for “billionaires.” That’s how The Palm Beach Post describes Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), in an editorial criticizing us for trying to get federal officials to follow their own scientific findings about the manatee. (“Deep-pocketed suit endangers manatee’s status,” July 27.)

Nothing could be more off the mark. PLF is a nonprofit organization that defends property rights and other basic freedoms, on behalf of victims of overreaching government. We represent folks who can’t defend themselves because litigation against the government is so costly, stressful and drawn out. You’ll find us in courts throughout Florida, and across the country, standing up for the rights of “mom and pop” Americans of all backgrounds.

This op-ed followed an editorial published in that same newspaper a week ago; in that editorial last week, a writer at the Post criticized PLF because of who the editorial writer believed supported PLF, rather than criticizing the strength, or lack thereof, of PLF’s arguments on the merits regarding the Endangered Species Act.  Although we were disappointed that the editorial did not for the most part address the merits of PLF’s arguments, we appreciate that the Post‘s editor allowed us to respond to that editorial and gave us ample space on the paper’s op-ed page to take our case to the Post‘s readers.

Our op-ed concludes:

The ESA gives government power to control what Americans do on their property and to threaten fines and criminal charges even for accidental or harmless activities. The government justifies this power because of the need to protect endangered species. But if a species recovers and that justification disappears, the government’s power to control and punish Americans should also disappear.

Bottom line: as The Post’s editorial implied, money is a reason for PLF to take this case. But it’s not billionaire money.

It’s your tax money.

When the government fails to follow the law, it’s spending our tax money illegally. When that happens, PLF stands up to the government and says, “STOP!”

Please read the whole piece here.

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