ESA in the news: Secretary Salazar, NRDC's tree-listing efforts, crashing red knots, smuggled monkeys etc.
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, D-Colo., is rumored to be President-Elect Obama's choice as the new Secretary of the Interior, and thus, a leading figure overseeing the implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Salon.com considers him a moderate, Backpacker.com calls him a centrist, and the Denver Business Journal reported excitement from other western voices, but the Center for Biological Diversity already expressed its disappointment with the expected announcement.
Senator Salazar is a member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, previously served as head of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, and as a water rights lawyer. Photo from Minnesota Public Radio.
In other ESA news:
- The Natural Resources Defense Council made quite a media splash this week with its effort to list the whitebark pine as an endangered species based upon climate change concerns. The effort could change the dialogue over Endangered Species Act issues, with environmental groups identifying trees for protection, and thus, reaching very large tracts of habitat. See, OMB Watch, Will Climate Change's Effect on Species Be Considered? Plenty, If a tree falls in a forest, so does every species that depends on it. Jackson Hole News & Guide, Greens move to save tree bears depend on. Kansas City infozine, Tree in Trouble: NRDC Petitions for Whitebark Pine Endangered Status. Idaho Mountain Express, Whitebark pine subject of petition: High-elevation tree is being eliminated across most of its range, enviros say
- Meanwhile, Red knots have returned to the news, moving up on the list of candidate species in need of Endangered Species Act protections. See DelmarvaNow.com and prior ESA blawg (12/11/2008)(on candidate species list) and (3/16/2008)(on red knots)
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that environmentalists are concerned about a request by NiSource Inc., which delivers the fuel for Columbia Gas, for an unprecedented 50-year permit to work on future pipelines while allowing incidental takings of plants and animals protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in Ohio and 13 other states.
- Finally, in the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up category of criminal law news, a woman hiding a smuggled monkey under her blouse was convicted, CNN reported and the LA Times editorialized, with sentencing set for March 2009.