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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« Regulation of lands under Clean Water Act did not trigger special Endangered Species Act protections for listed plant | Main| Desert bald eagles "relisted" as threatened by U.S. District Court Judge in Arizona »

Upon further review, court upholds FWS decision not to list the Florida black bear.

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Defenders of Wildlife v. Kempthorne, 2008 WL 590865 (D.D.C., Mar. 5, 2008)

BACKGROUND: In 1998, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found that the Florida black bear did not warrant ESA listing.  63 Fed. Reg. 67613 (Dec. 8, 1998).  However, a 2001 court decision remanded the finding to the FWS to clarify the analysis of whether existing regulatory mechanisms were adequate.  FWS issued a new decision in 2004.  69 Fed. Reg. 2100 (Jan. 14, 2004)

SUMMARY: Rejecting all the alternative procedural arguments of the Plaintiffs, the Court held that FWS  properly interpreted the 2001 remand, and properly limited its analysis to the regulatory mechanisms that were in place in 1998.  The court also held that FWS properly considered the best available data that was available in 1998, because FWS had not been ordered to begin an entirely new review of the need to list the Florida black bear.  On the merits, the court also held that FWS’s analysis was not arbitrary or capricious, and upheld the FWS conclusions that the amount of habitat loss in Florida did not necessitate threatened status for the species because public conservation lands provided the needed habitat for bears to thrive.  The Court specifically noted the preservation of and management measures in over 3.7 million acres of State and Federally managed lands in Florida, including: Apalachicola, Ocala, and Osceola National Forests; Big Cypress National Park; Okefenoke and other National Wildlife Refuges; Eglin Air Force; and other state lands owned by Florida. Finally, the Court upheld FWS’s reliance on existing management plans for State of Florida lands as not mere speculation.

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Florida's license plates protect black bears, and the Florida FWCpromotes the tags, which fund wildlife preservation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission webpageson the Florida black bear
  • Defenders of Wildlife webpageson the Florida black bear

COMMENTARY: The Court’s analysis, as well as the FWS analysis, also acknowledged Florida state environmental laws regarding "Environmental Resource Permitting" ("ERP") and "Developments of Regional Impact ("DRI") placed some restrictions on developments.   While these laws do not stop all habitat loss, they were found to be sufficient regulatory mechanisms and thus precluded the need for listing of the Florida black bear.

P.S.  A photo I couldn't resist...

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Florida black bear on Eglin AFB, photo Photo by Arlo Kane