ESA in the News All Over the Nation
From New England to New Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest to Florida, with a dose of Texas an West Virginia too, the Endangered Species Act made news nationwide this week. An excellent article in the New York Times on mountaintop mining reveals how environmental groups are well aware of the potential backlash of invoking the Endangered Species Act as a tool to protect the Appalachians. While the Gray Lady quotes coal industry representatives to insist that they are heavily regulated, a recent article on coal coalition lobbying efforts suggests otherwise. See Greenwire article as published by E&E. Another gem from the NY Times came from its editorial pages, weighing in on the upcoming decision regarding the Federal Columbia River Power System and the impacts of dams on salmon. The Buffalo News and Boston Globe both weighed in on salmon issues too. In Texas, Amarillo.com is debating the pros and cons of windpower vs. ecosystems, while the San Antonio Express News reports on a local ordinance to "require developers to acknowledge the Endangered Species Act," and its consequences, because growth in the region has caused the U.S. Army's Camp Bullis to become an “island” of habitat surrounded by development, and the camp already has to limit its activities on 10,000 acres in order to protect endangered species. Perhaps Kiplinger summed it up best, predicting that the Obama Administration will undo more than just a few dam Bush decisions. But not everyone thinks that is a good thing, reminds AgWeb.com, declaring the delta smelt issues in the Sacramento Delta to be a socio-economic disaster ("Obama's Katrina") and a case of do-gooders vs. good people (Sean Hannity spoke up too), while Central Valley's indybay disagrees and accuses Schwarzenegger of capitulating yet again (even calling the California Department of Fish and Game a de facto subsidiary of the Department of Water Resources). Finally, the AP reports that the Mexican government plans to return a pack of captive-bred Mexican gray wolves to their historic range, "and news of the move has prompted a flurry of questions from wildlife managers, ranchers and conservationists in the United States." Yup, tracking the Endangered Species Act is always interesting.
As for Florida: The St. Pete Times reports that the student science group SCUBAnauts, recently diving in the Florida Keys, confirmed that the farm-raised Staghorn coral they transplanted two years ago appears to be thriving. Photo from St. Pete Times, courtesy of SCUBAnauts International Tampa Bay Chapter. And panthers are certainly moving about, if a report of a Florida panther shooting in Georgia holds up. See Opelika-Auburn News. Sea turtles, however, are still not faring all that well, and the St. Pete Times reported that NOAA has cut the grouper fishery fleet in half to protect sea turtles. And finally, Wade Hopping, who fought to get manatees removed from the endangered species list, died this week. The Miami Herald noted that "Without exception, his foes mourned his passing Tuesday."