ESA news: crimes, coral and Secretary Udall
Most of us knew that crime does not pay, but not the owner of The Hump, an LA sushi restaurant now facing charges for violating the Endangered Species Act. Selling whale meat briefly padded the bottom line, but the restaurant closed in the face of protests (and prosecution). See Nation's Restaurant News, The Argonaut, and BigPondNews. Elsewhere in the category of "you should have known better," two Kentucky men were sentenced for killing more than 100 Indiana bats in Laurel Cave by crushing them with rocks, flashlights and feet, while a former New Jersey town mayor also found himself facing an indictment for removing and relocating protected bog turtles from his property. See KYpost.com and CentralJersey.com.
While the criminal stories, as they often do, gained disproportionate attention, aquatic endangered species received much of the recent news on the civil side of ESA implementation. The once absurdly abundant Pacific smelt has now been listed as a threatened species in the Northwest, see Oregon Live. And eighty-two different coral species might not be far behind, as NOAA is considering the possibility of listed these species -- along with all the potential consequences of using the ESA as a back-door mechanism for regulating climate change. See AP news story in MySanAntonio.
Lastly, a farewell to Stewart Udall, a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior who died this week. Photo above from pbs.org and Harpers Ferry, National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection (1965). Mr. Udall was a leading advocate for the passage of the ESA. See OregonLive and the SanteFeNewMexican. In his words: "We cannot afford an America where expedience tramples upon aesthetics and development decisions are made with an eye only on the present." In addition to his ESA legacy, Mr. Udall and his brother left behind the Udall Foundation, and organization dedicated to "Civility, Integrity, and Consensus." Imagine that!