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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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"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.

« ESA in the news: more litigation | Main| Draft Mexican wolf conservation assessment announced by FWS »

FWS denies listing for 270 species based on insufficient information; organization that filed the petition already skeptical of incoming administration

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74 Fed. Reg. 419 / Vol. 74, No. 3 / Tuesday, January 6, 2009 / DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Partial 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List 475 Species in the Southwestern United States as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on 270 species from a petition to list 475 species in the southwestern United States as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that for these 270 species the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing these species may be warranted. Therefore, for these 270 species, we will not initiate a further status review in response to this petition. We  ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of these 270 species or threats to them or their habitat at any time. This information will help us monitor and encourage the conservation of these species. An additional 5 species of the 475 included in the petition do not fall within the scope of the petition or are not a listable entity and, therefore, were not considered in this finding (see Petition).

KEITHINKING: Wild Earth Guardians sought to push FWS to list numerous species that were candidates for listing, or that were ranked by NatureServe as G1 (critically imperiled) or G1G2 (between critically imperiled and imperiled).  With regard to 270 species noted in this Federal Register announcement, FWS found the petition to be deficient, explaining as follows:

We have reviewed and evaluated the five listing factors with regard to 270 of the 475 petitioned species, based on the information in the petition and the literature cited in the petition, and we have evaluated the information to determine whether the sources cited support the claims made in the petition. We also reviewed reliable information that was readily available to us. Based on this review and evaluation, we find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information that listing these 270 species as threatened or endangered under the Act may be warranted.

While AP articles noted that Secretary Kempthorne's final speech emphasized his efforts to heal the Department of Interior's diminished reputation due to scandals over Endangered Species Act implementation, see Wild Earth Guardians labeled this FWS decision as being "more midnight giveaways."  See also El Paso's  KDBC News 4

In truth, the decision on whether or not to list these species cannot be oversimplified.  Even Wild Earth Guardians acknowledges that "Species Denied Federal Protection Include Plants Not Seen in Decades" and that points begs the question of whether it is better to expend the agencies limited resources listing these little known species, as opposed to other species on the candidate lists.  Unbothered by such nuances, Wild Earth Guardians goes even further, and in today's statement, they cast diplomacy aside, insulting the incoming Secretary of Interior before the Obama administration has even begun: "Obama has a huge mess to clean up at Interior, including addressing hundreds of endangered species not yet protected under the nation’s endangered species law. We needed a watchdog to protect endangered species. In Salazar, we’re afraid we got a lapdog,” said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians.