ESA in the news
It's been kinda quiet lately in the Federal Register, with few Endangered Species Act announcements. But President Obama's nominee as Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caused a stir with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), whose press release berated Sam Hamilton for "almost never" invoking the ESA to protect wildlife, according to their analysis of agency statistics. PEER believes he had "by far the weakest record on Endangered Species Act enforcement of any comparable official in the country." Meanwhile, his boss, another publicly criticized environmental leader, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is preparing for a trip to Fresno, where he expects to encounter local farmers frustrated that the consequences of ESA enforcement have become too severe. See The Business Journal and RestoreTheDelta.org (But putting things into perspective, the examiner.com declares that Sarah Palin is "worse than Bush" on environmental issues.)
Of course, like politics itself, nearly all environmentaI issues are local (global climate change a partial exception). Nevertheless, to the layperson, ESA implementation seems rife with mixed messages:
- The Center for Biological Diversity is protesting insufficient regulation of logging impacts on coho salmon (based on a recent opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Patel in San Francisco might agree), while NOAA is increasing ESA protections for Maine salmon.
- Friends of Animals won their case related to trophy permits for African antelope (and Canadians are debating trophy hunting of grizzly bears), but Safari Club International is now openly defending the delisting of the Western Great Lakes wolf populations.
- U.S. FWS data says that Alaska polar bear populations are declining, once again, and partial counts of walrus populationsare causing environmental heartburn too. Yet peregrine falcons are coming off the ESA list, and NOAA is lessening restrictions intended to protect Pacific sea turtles, but leaving other fishery restrictions in place in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Then again, some things are consistent.
After all, PETA is protesting again,
this time over alleged elephant (and tiger) abuse by the
Protesters in Fresno are letting The Governator know their voting intentions. Photo by ERIC PAUL ZAMORA in THE FRESNO BEE
KEITHINKING: Sorry about the backlog in caselaw summaries. More postings to follow.