The  Endangered  Species  Act


The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the weapons of radical environmentalists, and is among the most wasteful and most counterproductive laws on the books.  It started out as an innocent-sounding means of protecting plants and animals that were nearing extinction, but it has turned into a tool for exerting political leverage.  Like so many other laws, this one has had many unintended adverse consequences.  The application of the ESA has apparently resulted in a number of violations of Fourth Amendment property rights, especially in the western half of the United States.  A quick search of the internet for the topics of private property rights and water usage rights will reveal a number of battles in rural America between farmers trying to use their land as they see fit, and various government agencies enforcing the ESA.

The cost of complying with government regulations has become enormous.  According to Professor Thomas Hopkins of the Rochester Institute of Technology, businesses and private citizens spend more than $600 billion every year complying with government regulations.  Hopkins estimates that environmental regulations make up more than one quarter of that cost, approximately $168 billion.*

Ironically, many of the environmentalists who are really gung-ho about the ESA are the same people who place more value on the words of Charles Darwin than the Word of God.  One would think they'd be delighted when "survival of the fittest" is allowed to run its course, and the weak and vulnerable species die out!  Instead, they place their faith and trust in the federal government, hoping to reverse this natural process at the taxpayers' expense.

The ESA seeks to solve an open-ended problem that probably can't be solved anyway, since the forces of nature are far greater than the power of the most overdeveloped government agency.  Plants and animals have always faced danger… from each other!  But the ESA is a problem because it has been implemented in a way that makes its supporting bureaucracies permanent, and the cost of enforcing the act are constantly expanding.  A 1990 General Accounting Office report found that more than 80 percent of all listed species were declining despite protection under the act.*  Listing the Northern spotted owl in 1990 led to tens of thousands of job losses and is expected to cost the economy $21 billion to $46 billion.*  And even when actual recovery has occurred, species frequently are not delisted.  This failure to acknowledge success aggravates public frustrations generated by the cost and inflexible processes of ESA.*

For the purpose of this discussion, I think there are two types of environmentalists:  Type 1 environmentalists only care about gathering political power and tax-sheltered donations  They support an ever-expanding federal government because they feed on politics.  Type 2 environmentalists are people who mean well, and will do whatever they can to preserve and protect plants and animals, but they have been badly misinformed by the Type 1 people.  This page is here for the benefit of the people who get faulty information from the mainstream press, which tends to be sympathetic to Type 1 environmental activists.

The ESA has the unattainable goal of protecting all species from extinction at any cost.*  But it just can't be done.  The forces of nature are far more powerful than anything the government can do for a mere $600 billion a year.  The ESA is not just an inconvenience, it is a means of bypassing the democratic process to grab and exert political power.

Moreover, the ESA is utterly futile:  In order to prove that a species is extinct (or even endangered), you must be able to prove that you know the location of every specimen of that species.

In addition, the furor over endangered species fails to weigh the value of a kangaroo rat (for example) against the value of a human life and that human's job.

In the United States, according to the U.S. government, there are 69 species of endangered mammals, 75 species of endangered birds, 304 species of other animals, and 598 species of endangered plants.  [Source]  Some environmentalists say that "tens of thousands of species disappear every year."  But such a statement is absurd, and the people who make such claims are evidently hoping that nobody will test their claims against the facts.

This topic is related to others on this web site, including the study of Environmental False AlarmsAnimal rights vs human rights,  the banning of DDT,  and the Abuse of government power.

Endangered Species Act Doesn't Save Species.  Since 1973, more than 2,470 species of plants and animals have been listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Billions of dollars have been spent by federal, state, local governments, and private individuals to help those species recover.  People have been forbidden to build homes or businesses on their own land, told they must stop farming or logging, and road and hospital construction has been halted or delayed.  Yet for all this effort, just 78 species have been removed from the Endangered Species List — just 3.1 percent of all species ever listed.  Further, a majority of the species removed from the list were taken off because they had been initially improperly placed on it due to data errors (18 species); were foreign species given no protection by the ESA (22); were recovered due to other laws or regulations, such as the banning of DDT (13); or, worst of all, delisted because they became extinct while on the list or were already extinct at the time they were listed (10 species).  In more than 44 years of existence, at best, ESA is responsible for helping 13 species to recover — though it's questionable whether the recovery of those 13 species, mostly plants, is actually due to the ESA, since they existed almost entirely on federal land and were thus already protected.

Wildlife Officials Plan to Cull Nearly Half a Million Barred Owls to Protect Spotted Owls.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed culling nearly half a million invasive barred owls in Washington state, Oregon, and California over the next three decades to protect native spotted owls from possible extinction.  "Barred owl management is not about one owl versus another," Fish and Wildlife Service Oregon's state supervisor Kessina Lee said in a statement.  "Without actively managing barred owls, northern spotted owls will likely go extinct in all or the majority of their range, despite decades of collaborative conservation efforts."  The agency said its proposal, published on July 3, would result in the annual removal of less than 0.5 percent of the current North American barred owl population.

The Editor says...
Aren't these the same people who preach "survival of the fittest" in the public schools?  It costs nothing to let nature take its course.

Biden administration designates lizard as endangered after Texas expanded conservation.  While Texas leads the U.S. in energy production, state officials argue that the Biden administration is "getting in the way."  The latest example is the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard (DSL).  Texans in the Permian Basin voluntarily chose to protect it and since 2012, their efforts have paid off with the species' protected habitat having expanded by millions of acres.  Despite this, last month, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services designated the DSL as an endangered species.  Critics argue doing so was solely a political move in an election year to appease environmentalists and "shut down American oil and gas."

Climate Change 'Solutions' Are Harming the Environment.  As whale deaths mount on the East Coast, The Heartland Institute along with our allies at CFACT and the National Legal and Policy Center have filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order on Dominion Energy's plans to begin pile driving for construction of the base and tower portions of 176 giant offshore wind turbines it plans to erect at great economic and environmental costs off the coast of Virginia as part of President Biden's "all of government" approach to fight climate change.  CFACT has established a great resource devoted to the myriad environmental problems — including the threat to the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) from the push for offshore wind along the East Coast.  These turbines are being erected right in the middle of NARW and other protected marine mammals' habitat and migration routes.  In the rush to erect these turbines quickly, the federal government and Dominion played fast and loose with the rules and permits, in particular failing to follow the law and proper procedures in accounting for potential comprehensive, cumulative whale impacts.

Not completely off-topic:
California Woman Fined $88K After Children Pick Up Clams.  A woman from Fresno, California, got a huge shock after taking her children on a family trip to Pismo Beach.  At the close of 2023, Charlotte Russ visited the area with her children who wanted to collect seashells at the beach, ABC 30 reported on Thursday.  But what the family did not realize at the time was they had actually picked up 72 clams.  Clamming is regulated, so Russ was given a ticket and later got a notice that said she was being fined a whopping $88,000. [...] Russ's fine was later reduced to $500 after she explained what happened to a San Luis Obispo County judge.

New endangered listing for rare lizard could slow oil and gas drilling in New Mexico and West Texas.  Federal wildlife officials declared a rare lizard in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas an endangered species Friday, citing future energy development, sand mining and climate change as the biggest threats to its survival in one of the world's most lucrative oil and natural gas basins.  "We have determined that the dunes sagebrush lizard is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.  It concluded that the lizard already is "functionally extinct" across 47% of its range.

The Editor says...
My car runs on petroleum, not lizards.  Since when does the Fish and Wildlife Service regulate petroleum production?

NOAA: From Whale Hero to Whale Villain.  On its website, NOAA claims that it works "to protect marine species populations from decline and extinction, conduct research to understand their health and environment, and evaluate and monitor human activities that might affect them to ensure future generations may enjoy them."  NOAA says that the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires it to protect all whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from "take" by U.S. citizens in the nation's waters.  "Take" is NOAA lingo for harassing, hunting, capturing, killing or attempting to do any of those.  However "exemptions" to this protection are granted to allow lethal and non-lethal interference with cetaceans — whales, dolphins and porpoises — by wind energy developers along the Eastern Seaboard.  Known as "Incidental Take/Harassment Authorizations" (IHAs), these exemptions give wind operators latitude within the regulation to kill and harass marine mammals while carrying out sonar surveys for site characterization and other activities related to construction and operations.

Fearmongering keeps the elites in power.  The experts scream, "We are running out of frogs!  We are running out of birds!  We are running out of bees!  Insect populations in general are collapsing!" Yet when I was on our deck this evening, I could hear myriads of frogs croaking in the pond across the road.  Birds were everywhere, ubiquitous, omnipresent.  And insects accosted me to the point I eventually took refuge indoors.  (And now the fine folks at the World Economic Forum, along with other global elites, are telling us we may have to eat insects soon, for the good of the planet.)  Bird flu is coming!  There's a new pandemic on its way!  [Indeed], even the global salt levels are out of balance, experts say!!  Existential threat! [...] See a pattern?  "Experts" and "progressive" political leaders know the best way to enhance their own power is to keep the populace scared[,] and claim they have the solution to the crisis de jour.  The incessant oncoming disasters rarely, if ever, pan out.

Giant coyote killed in southern Michigan turns out to be a gray wolf — despite the species vanishing from region 100 years ago.  Genetic tests have revealed that an animal killed in a legal coyote hunt in Michigan's Calhoun County was actually a gray wolf, state officials say.  But experts don't know how the animal got there in the first place.  Calhoun County is located in the southern half of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, where no gray wolves (Canis lupus) have been sighted for over a century.  A population of around 630 gray wolves inhabits the state's Upper Peninsula, 250 miles (400 kilometers) away, and some wolves have occasionally been spotted in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula — roughly 130 miles (200 km) from Calhoun County.

The Editor says...
If a gray wolf is indistinguishable from a coyote without genetic testing, why worry about the scarcity of gray wolves?

Government proposal to kill a half-million barred owls to protect the spotted owl sparks controversy.  A proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill roughly half a million barred owls to protect the spotted owl has conservationists and animal welfare advocates debating the moral issue of killing one species to protect another.  The proposal, published in November, garnered attention in recent days after dozens of wildlife protection and animal welfare organizations signed a letter opposing the plan.  In a March 25 letter responding to the proposal, a group of 75 organizations urged Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, to scrap what it calls a "reckless" plan.

Make them play by their own rules!
conservatives are using the Endangered Species Act to save the whales from offshore wind projects.  Morano: "I'm with Climate Depot, and my parent group, the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow, has joined with The Heartland Institute and the National Legal Policy Center.  We are suing to save the whales in the US District Court in the District of Columbia.  We are suing Dominion Energy and the federal government to say they have not properly looked at the Endangered Species laws as to how to protect the whales and that offshore wind is harming the whales' sonar, causing the death and beachings and impacting endangered species.  We are going to have our day in court. [...] We're using the 1970s endangered species laws championed by the environmentalists to save the whales from the green energy wind farms.  And the environmentalists have been silent on this issue.  So it's up to us, the conservatives, to stand up and fight this."

Dam removal project in the PNW to 'save the salmon' ends up pushing the population towards extinction.  Greenies' delusions of intelligence and enlightenment have some very serious real-world consequences, and the environmental fallout of a California dam removal project is a prime example. [...] The Green cult is really just another death cult, and its approach to nature is infantile.  Admiring the beauty of nature and advocating for its conservation are noble attitudes, but it is only the greenies, with their romanticization of leftism, mixed with their supreme lack of awareness, who reap very serious and very detrimental environmental consequences for us all.

Biden Fish and Wildlife Service Wants to Release Wolves Into Colorado Cattle Country.  The Biden Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to reintroduce the Gray Wolf into cattle country in Colorado and ranchers are not happy about it.  This is apparently going to happen because the ranchers are only suing to delay the measure, but it's still a terrible idea.  Livestock will be attacked, it's an inevitability.  It's probably safe to assume that the people who came up with this idea have never raised cattle or sheep.

The Editor says...
It is easy to infer that socialist bureaucrats have little or no real-world experience in the areas affected by their half-baked anti-capitalist decrees.  For example, Barack H. Obama has never held a job in a for-profit organization, at least as an adult.  The same is true of Bernie Sanders, and is probably true of many other socialist democrats.  When a tree-hugging hippie acquires power in a cabinet-level department, nothing good will happen to the people affected out in the field.

Embattled wolves gain a new frontier in Democratic Colorado.  The move is stoking political tensions.  Wildlife officials plan to release gray wolves in Colorado in coming weeks, at the behest of urban voters and to the dismay of rural residents who don't want the predators but have waning influence in the Democratic-led state.  The most ambitious wolf reintroduction effort in the U.S. in almost three decades marks a sharp departure from aggressive efforts by Republican-led states to cull wolf packs.

The Editor says...
There is not one rancher in Colorado who sits outside wishing there were more wolves on his property.  There is not one hiker or camper or stranded motorist in Colorado who hopes to encounter a wolf.  In fact, if all the wolves were eliminated from North America this afternoon, only a handful of tree-hugging earth-worshiping hippies and Indians would give them another thought.

Shimmering golden mole thought extinct photographed and filmed over 80 years after last sighting.  A golden mole that has not been seen for over 80 years has been rediscovered in sand dunes in South Africa.  The blind animal was filmed and photographed after an extensive search for the species, which researchers feared was extinct.  De Winton's golden mole (Cryptochloris wintoni) is an elusive blind mole that "swims" through sand, lives in inaccessible burrows and has a shimmering, iridescent coat.  It has only ever been recorded in one location — Port Nolloth, on South Africa's northwest coast — where it was last sighted in 1937.

US moves to protect wolverines as climate change melts their mountain refuges, threatens extinction.  The North American wolverine will receive long-delayed threatened species protections under a Biden administration proposal released Wednesday in response to scientists' warnings that climate change will likely melt away the rare species' snowy mountain refuges and push them toward extinction. [...] Wolverines join a growing number of animals, plants and insects — from polar bears in Alaska to crocodiles in southern Florida — that officials say are at growing risk as increasing temperatures bake the planet, altering snowfall patterns and raising sea levels.

The Editor says...
The Associated Press is getting more brazen in its reporting of the dire effects of global warming, even though there has been approximately zero global warming in the last 25 years.  Certainly not enough of a change for a wolverine to sense.  In particular, the Associated Press casually presents idle conjecture as proven fact.  The AP doesn't hesitate to report changes "snowfall patterns and raising sea levels" as if those are well-established facts on which we all agree.

Putting oil spills into perspective.  The people pushing the green agenda have been trying to scare people, especially children, into believing that humans and our use of natural resources are causing irreparable warming or disastrous climate change, which is in turn causing the loss of thousands of species every year.  That number is pulled out of thin air to get people to capitulate.  They started with the lie that polar bears were dying because of warming... but they were dying because of hunting.  Today they are thriving with an estimate that there are between 22,000 and 31,000 — as many climate "scientists" acknowledge, the population has completely recovered from the unregulated hunts of the 1970s.  If you Google the question, "how many identified species have died in the last 150 years" you get... a whopping "23"!  My guess is most were almost extinct prior to us using oil.  If you ask, "how many identified species have gone extinct in the last 500 years" you get "869" which includes both flora and fauna.  I doubt if they can come up with many that were caused by our use of natural resources, a little warming, or rising levels of CO2.

Appeals court orders sale of Gulf oil, gas leases to proceed over environmentalists' objections.  A federal appeals court Tuesday ordered the federal sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico to be held within 37 days, rejecting environmentalists' arguments the project endangering a rare whale species.  The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and others had hoped to block 6vmillion acres from being offered in Lease Sale 261 over concerns it could further endanger the mammal.  A lower court had issued an injunction against excluding the acreage from the sale.  During oral arguments Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had questioned if the environmental groups had demonstrated the whales would be harmed as a result of the lower court's decision.

US Appeals Court Orders Biden Admin to Conduct Gulf Oil, Gas Auction Within 37 Days.  A federal appeals court in New Orleans gave the Biden administration 37 days to move forward with the sale of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, dismissing challenges from environmental groups in a ruling on Tuesday.  The decision comes after a series of legal battles, primarily citing concerns over endangered whale species.  The three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the attempts by environmental groups to block the leases, which had been delayed due to legal challenges related to whale protections.  The pending sale, initially announced in March, faced delays from its original date on Sept. 27, extending to Nov. 8 amid ongoing legal disputes.  In late October, the appeals court further postponed the sale pending arguments specifically addressing endangered whale species, scheduled for Nov. 13.

Thailand's tiger turnaround contradicts climate fearmongering.  Thailand's protected forest areas are home to the Indochinese tiger, known by its biological name Panthera tigris corbetti.  Recent population numbers suggest that the tiger is making a comeback.  Tiger populations in two of Thailand's wildlife sanctuaries grew from 42 in 2012 to about 100 in 2022.  The resurgence is one more conservation success story that defies the climate-obsessed mainstream media's doomsday narrative, which has been blaming anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions for real and fabricated declines in animal numbers and even outright extinctions.  Over the past century, the Panthera tigris has seen catastrophic declines in both its population (96 percent), and habitat (95 percent).  The primary cause of the drop in tiger populations in this area has not been climate change but rather hunting.

Extinct Holly Tree Found in South America After Not Being Seen For Nearly 200 Years.  The Pernambuco holly was discovered again in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco after being presumed extinct for 186 years.  [Tweet]  The small holly tree was identified after four specimens were examined by a local expedition team, according to the Good News Network.

Offshore wind is systematically violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  New evidence says that offshore wind sonar surveys may have committed hundreds of thousands of violations of the MMPA, each potentially subject to tens of thousands of dollars in fines.  The potential penalty total is in the billions.  Moreover these incredible violations appear to be deliberate.  These astonishingly bad findings flow from research by the Save the Right Whales Coalition (SRWC).  It is a bit technical but here is a simple summary.  First some legal background.  We are talking about the activity of sonar blasting doing something called "incidental harassment".  In the MMPA harassment means doing bad things to a marine mammal.  These can range from causing adverse behavioral changes to outright injury, such as in this case causing deafness.  Incidental means the harassment is due to some activity that is not directed at the mammal, in this case the many sonar surveys done in conjunction with offshore wind development.

Ignoring History Means Choosing Windmills Over Whales.  If fossil fuels are no longer used, what will replace them?  One alternative that is being seriously pursued involves offshore windmills.  These are proving to be both environmental and economic failures.  But there is a side story that portends even worse consequences.  Dead whales have been washing up on East Coast beaches in unprecedented numbers, with sixty-two known whale deaths in nine months.  Sadly, the whales dying are Right Whales, and there are only 340 left.  A film titled Thrown to the Wind documents excessive loud, high-decibel sonar "emitted by wind industry vessels when measured with state-of-the-art hydrophones.  And it shows that the wind industry's increased boat traffic is correlated directly with specific whale deaths."  Greenpeace, however, which was formed in significant part to protect whales, is not worried: [...]

The Editor says...
This proves that the "animal rights" movement is a sham, or at least it proves that the animal rights activists have lost all their clout and can now be ignored.

If it Saves One Life and Other Meretricious Lies.  It's not unusual that power-mad politicians justify depriving us of liberty using the appeal to emotion:  "If it saves one life." [...] Just as this nonsensical appeal to emotion was used to justify lockdowns, the green movement thrives on emotional pap which hides the true cost of their policies.  I'm old enough to remember how a major energy project (Tellico) was held up for six years at high cost to energy customers and the local economy because the claimed need to protect the snail darter from extinction.  It was subsequently transplanted and thrives.  The media, using a variation of "if it saves one life" yammered on about the need to preserve every species (actually in that case a subspecies) of a miniscule fish versus the needs of those people in the Tennessee Valley.  It's not the only time some exaggerated claims about a minor species was used to halt needed conventional energy projects, but it was the first of several which set the standard.

The Biggest Environmental Scandal In The World.  A dead whale washed ashore on Takanassee Beach in New Jersey in the early evening yesterday.  Police blocked off the area so tractors could be brought in to remove it.  "We were sitting on the beach yesterday, and I noticed it when people started running up to it," said Soraya Nimaroff, who lives nearby.  "I'm very sad.  It is very sad."  Yesterday marked the 60th known whale death on the East Coast since Dec 1, 2022.  Whale strandings have increased markedly since 2016.  The North Atlantic right whales are headed for extinction.  Their population has dropped to 340.  There have been 200 humpback strandings and 98 strandings of right whales since 2017.  "It caused us concern enough to ask, 'What is happening?'" said Cindy Zipf, executive director of the Long Branch-based nonprofit Clean Ocean Action (COA).  "We looked into what was different about this December and early January."  The only thing she and other researchers found was offshore wind exploration.

Biden Tries to Sink Gov. Abbott's Border Buoys.  The Biden Administration is taking steps to undermine Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R-TX) actions to keep illegal aliens out of the U.S.  The state's top land official called out the Biden Administration's proposed federal protection for two Rio Grande mussel species as a "political" game to stop Abbott from deploying his buoys in the U.S.-Mexico water border.  "Unfortunately, the Biden administration is turning the Endangered Species Act into a political tool to push an agenda rather than ensuring true conservation efforts are implemented," Texas General Land Office Commissioner Dawn Buckingham said in a statement. "This administration is proposing to roll back reasonable improvements made to this law and are simply ignoring the successful accomplishments of private preservationists, state, and local land managers by adding more federal red tape regulations."

Biden killing whales and raptors for wind, now using a lizard to shut down oil.  This White House must get down on their knees and thank whatever Babylonian gods they worship when a weekend holiday rolls around.  They can slide the shiv in just that quick and hope no one notices in all the hubbub of fireworks or finding a cubby full of blow in the Big House.  Which is precisely what they did this Friday, right before the weekend stretched out to Fourth of July.  A successful conservation effort between land owners and oil and gas industry types that had been working for eleven years was, for all intents an purposes, summarily spiked by Biden's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  They've proposed a rule to declare the dunes sagebrush lizard "endangered" under the restrictions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and it's too bad, so sad for the oil industry that the little scamps just happen to live all over the Permian basin.

Dragon Feared Extinct Found in the Wild After 50 Years.  The Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon has been spotted in the wild for the first time in 50 years, according to ABC News Australia.  The Natural History Museum of London celebrated with a tweet that stated, "It's not a myth: this #dragon is very much alive!"  [Tweet]

Rare wolverine spotted in California, second confirmed specimen in a century.  A wild wolverine was spotted multiple times in California last month, only the second specimen to be verified by experts in the past century, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Over a two-week period in May, the wolverine was reported twice in Inyo National Forest and once in Yosemite National Park.  Photos and video of the animal were analyzed by U.S. Forest Service experts, who confirmed it was the same creature due to its body proportions, coloration and movement.  "Wolverines can travel great distances, making it likely that the recent sightings are all of the same animal," Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Daniel Gammons said in a statement.  "Because only two wolverines have been confirmed in California during the last 100 years, these latest detections are exciting."

They "disappeared" but they weren't extinct.
'Mini kangaroos on steroids' make comeback in South Australia after disappearing for 100 years.  Adorable marsupials that look like "mini kangaroos on steroids" are bouncing back in southern Australia after disappearing from the region for more than 100 years.  Brush-tailed bettongs (Bettongia penicillata), also known as yalgiri in the language of the local Narungga People, are energetic creatures that once hopped and darted across much of the Australian mainland.  Over the last two centuries, their numbers have dwindled due to predation by foxes and feral cats, as well as habitat loss.  Now only a few thousand survive in pockets of Western Australia, in sanctuaries and on islands.  But recently, the mini marsupials have made a comeback in the south after being reintroduced by conservationists.

On global warming, so many problems with the data.  Why are people, especially children, told the intentional lie that thousands of species are dying each year because of humans and our use of natural resources when the truth is that scientists can only identify 800 animal species that have gone extinct in the last 400 years, or two per year?  The answer is clearly that the truth would not get support for the radical green agenda.

Are we about to lose 40% of our species?  The preservationist group NatureServe just released a report concluding that some 40% of animal species in the US will go extinct in the near future as a result of climate change.  Their predictions may turn out not to be quite accurate, since there are other factors at work that determine which species survive and which go the way of the dodo bird and ivory-billed woodpecker.  The analysis the report depends on has been severely criticized for lack of rigor by Canadian and Finnish biostatisticians.  Anticipated losses among a small percentage of already dangerously endangered species is applied to the vast majority of U.S. animal populations showing no signs of diminishing in numbers.  The polar bear, to the contrary, has recovered dramatically from a low of less than 10,000 adults in 1975 to more than 30,000 in the most recent surveys.

30 by 30 is the biggest land grab in history marketed under the guise of "protecting biodiversity".  Last week we published an article about a statement issued by the Indigenous Environmental Network, an American initiative to protect sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, and the health of both indigenous people and all living things.  The statement exposed the private commercial interests at COP15 planning to profiteer from "Mother Earth."  At the recent COP15 — the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity ("UNCBD") conference — the Global Biodiversity Framework, known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted. [...] Independently, the 'No Deal for Nature' campaign has investigated and detailed the monstrous and unprecedented assault on our living world under the guise of biodiversity.  "At the forefront is the accelerating loss of biodiversity, upon which all life depends," the campaign states, "this very real threat is now being marketed and exploited in order to reboot the global economy."

The Editor says...
"All life depends" on a lot of things, but "biodiversity" is not one of them.  When one specific type of plant or animal disappears, the rest adapt and move on.  In other words, they're smart enough to get over it!

18 Absurdities of the McConnell-Schumer Omnibus Spending Bill.  [Scroll down]  [T]he spending bill includes provisions that are cause for concern for pro-life Americans.  In perhaps the clearest example of the frame of mind of the authors, the $575 million in a global health section allocated for "family planning/reproductive health, including in areas where population growth threatens biodiversity or endangered species."  This section quite literally puts plants before people.  This provision sees humanity as a parasite, as a threat to the plants and animals that the bill's drafters clearly see as vastly more important than the Americans and their families who Congress is supposed to protect.

What a relief!
Clam Thought To Have Gone 'Extinct' 30,000 Years Ago Found Alive.  A species of clam that was only known from fossils dating back 28,000 years was discovered to be alive off the coast of California.  The small, translucent bivalve mollusk was found living intertidally near the Santa Barbara coast, ScienceAlert reported.  It was determined to be Cymatioa cooki, and it had been discovered as a fossil in 1937 by a local woman named Edna Cook.  The fossils come from a well-studied archaeological site dated to between 28,000 and 36,000 years old. "It's not all that common to find alive a species first known from the fossil record, especially in a region as well-studied as Southern California," said Jeff Goddard, research associate at UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute and the co-author of the study detailing the discovery.

How a rare plant species could hinder a needed lithium mine.  Skyrocketing demand for domestically sourced lithium to meet federal goals for zero-emission technologies has developers planning for the next great mining boon in the Silver State, but a rare wildflower may stymie one proposed project.  The site of a proposed lithium mine in western Nevada's Silver Peak Range also happens to be the only known place on Earth where a rare wildflower grows in the wild.  Environmentalists say the plant is on the verge of extinction, and it's being considered by the Fish and Wildlife Service for protection under the Endangered Species Act.  Tiehm's buckwheat faces multiple threats to its survival, including grazing, invasive species and the effects of climate change, but the service said the most pressing threat is posed by mineral exploration and development.

Endangered Frogs See 'Population Explosion' After 422 Ponds Were Built in Switzerland.  All of Switzerland's threatened frog species' populations 'exploded' when scientists began a simple pond-building campaign.  Particular among the web-footed beneficiaries were the European tree frog, whose numbers have quadrupled since 1999, as have the numbers of areas they can be found.  While protection laws in the Swiss canton of Aargau for their suite of frog, newt, and toad species were strong, scientists wanted to see if habitat restoration could kick start their continually-declining numbers.

Control Freaks and the Guilt Trip Travel Agency.  Some years ago, I visited an aquarium in Monterey, California.  At first glance, it seemed like an interesting place, but sadly, I'm one of those people who read the entire sign explaining each exhibit.  After reading a few signs, I realized that each was a composition using a few words to describe the critter in the tank and progressing into a sad description of how man's actions — or even just man's presence on the planet — was causing trouble for the creature on display.  In short, it was one guilt trip after another, until I finally got the message and stopped reading the signs.  If it had been just one aquarium, it wouldn't be worth mentioning.  But this theme is repeated in many places these days.  It is so pervasive that years ago I nicknamed it the Guilt Trip Travel Agency.

Emperor Penguins Join Polar Bears on ESA List of Threatened Species Based on Flawed Climate Models.  Yesterday [10/25/2022], the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will classify the Emperor penguin as 'threatened' with extinction under its Endangered Species Act (ESA) based on what are known to be flawed climate models, to take effect next month.  This is despite the fact that Emperor penguin numbers increased between 2009 and 2019, an IUCN Red List reassessment in 2019 did not reverse its 2018 decision (still listing it as 'near-threatened', not 'vulnerable'), and member-nations refused earlier this year to enact an Antarctic Treaty to protect the birds.  Conservation activists of all stripes are filled with glee at this bettter-than-nothing decision for a species nowhere near extinction because it means more money for them.  Bottom line: An article by the US National Public Radio (25 October 2022) admits the real reason for this listing:  ["]Though emperor penguins are not found naturally in the U.S., the endangered species protections will help increase funding for conservation efforts.["]

Alaska Snow Crab Season Canceled After 1 Billion Crabs Vanish.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has officially canceled the winter snow crab season, according to CBS News.  It is the first time in history this has ever been done, however, it is now necessary due to the crabs' rapidly declining numbers in the Bering Sea.  According to state officials, it is estimated that one billion crabs have vanished in two years.  This constitutes a 90% population loss.

Popular Florida garden plant revives near-extinct butterfly population.  The resurgence of a native Floridian plant, the coontie, has in return revived the fortunes of the native Atala butterfly, which relies on the coontie and related plants to feed its larvae.  Both species were considered extirpated in the state of Florida for decades; no Atala butterflies were collected in the state from 1937 to 1959, and scientists thought the insect extinct.  A small population found on an island off the coast of Miami in 1979 is considered the progenitor of the species' present-day population, according to the Florida Wildflower Foundation.

Geothermal vs. the greens.  To much fanfare, Google announced in May 2021 that it would power one of its massive, energy-hogging data centers in Nevada using a next-generation geothermal plant. "To reach 24-7 (carbon-free energy), we also need to go beyond wind and solar and tap into sources of on-demand clean energy like geothermal," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Tuesday. "It's not widely used today and we want to change that.  I'm excited to announce that we are partnering to develop a next-generation geothermal power project.  This will connect to the grid, serving our Nevada data centers starting next year."  As is to be expected, other environmentalists objected because the project threatens to wipe out the Dixie Valley toad.  The latest twist came recently when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate an injunction that halted construction.  But only hours later, the parties themselves agreed to suspend construction temporarily.

Endangered Species:  Report Says Bengal Tigers in Nepal Have Killed 62 Humans in Last 3 Years.  A report published in the Kathmandu Post and cited by The Guardian says that the recovering Bengal tiger population in Nepal has killed 62 human beings in the last three years.  "Over the last three years there have been 104 tiger attacks inside protected areas and 62 people have been killed, according to the Kathmandu Post," the Guardian reported today.  The Guardian story carried this headline:  "Nepal's tiger numbers recover but attacks on people cause alarm."  The subhead of the article said:  "Nepalese population of Bengal tigers has nearly tripled in 12 years and conflict with humans is increasing."

State conservation bill from '19 could be to blame for increased shark presence.  Great whites and other sharks have been coming close to Long Island beaches this year to feast on a particular kind of bait fish that has been flourishing in New York waters ever since the state legislature voted unanimously to preserve it three years ago.  With the population of Atlantic menhaden booming, sharks are swimming into shore like tourists bellying up to a buffet, and in the process, they are coming close to bathers — with disastrous results, experts told The [New York] Post.  "The reason why people are interacting with sharks more often this year and more than last year is because of conservation efforts over the years [that] has protected a food source known as the Atlantic menhaden," Frank Quevedo, executive director of the South Fork Natural History Museum Shark Research and Education Program, told The Post.

Democrats are the party of fear because that is all they have.  The public, especially the children, are continually told that thousands of species are dying each year because human activities, fossil fuels, CO2, and other things cause climate change.  What we never see is a list of species that are going extinct is because the numbers are made up, essentially pulled from a hat.  ["]One-third of all plant and animal species could be extinct in 50 years, study warns["]  The facts are easy to find.  Less than 1,000 identified species have gone extinct in the past 500 years, less than two per year.  Those certainly cannot be attributed to oil use or anything else.  The reason the media and others don't report the truth is that the public wouldn't be scared enough to destroy the fossil fuel industry and support the disastrous, inefficient green agenda.

In SoCal, the comrades target the taps of 'water wasters' for restrictions.  In drought-plagued Southern California, the comrades have ways of making you obey.  Fresh after nixing a new plan for a desalination plant to provide water to residents during these water-lean times, they'd rather target individual water-wasters at residences.  They're putting "flow restrictors" on residential taps to stomp out "water-wasters," same way Stalin's men worked to stomp out wreckers and hoarders.  Apparently, paying higher bills for excess water use is simply not enough.  Coercion is better.

The Editor says...
Perhaps California would have plenty of water if they'd stop releasing fresh water into the ocean for the benefit of the Delta Smelt.  (Very few people have ever seen a Delta Smelt and most of them probably wouldn't care to see another one.)  Providing water isn't the Left's primary concern.  Their primary concern is control.

California Court Declares Bees Are Actually Fish.  A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that bees can be classified as fish under the state's Endangered Species Act (CESA) in a blow to agriculture groups.  The Sacramento-based three-judge panel ruled that four species of bumble bees found across California are technically fish since they are invertebrates, according to the decision in a case concerning the species' protected status that pitted the state government against agriculture groups.  The court added that the term fish shouldn't be confined to "aquatic" invertebrates under the CESA.  "We acknowledge the scope of the definition is ambiguous but also recognize we are not interpreting the definition on a blank slate," the appellate court's ruling stated.  "The legislative history supports the liberal interpretation of the Act (the lens through which we are required to construe the Act) that the Commission may list any invertebrate as an endangered or threatened species."

Engineered Famine:  California diverting water flows into the ocean, depriving rice farmers of necessary irrigation to grow food.  All across California, residents are being told to scrimp and save water because of historic drought conditions.  Meanwhile, state officials are dumping freshwater into the ocean while intentionally depriving rice farmers of the water they need to grow food.  Colusa County in Northern California is the top producer of rice in the Sacramento Valley.  The area generates more than 150,000 acres of rice in a normal year — but as you can probably tell by now, 2022 is anything but a normal year.  Officials there say that only a fraction of the usual rice crop will be grown there this year, delivering a massive financial blow to rice farmers, workers and suppliers. [...] Meanwhile, 50 percent of California's water flows right out into the Pacific Ocean, a policy that was enacted for "environmental" purposes to save the Delta smelt, an "endangered" fish species.

DNA Test Finds Endangered Species in Cat and Dog Food.  Despite declining global shark populations, the important predator's meat is somehow winding up in cans of cat and dog food, according to a new study published this morning in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.  Two researchers at the National University of Singapore used DNA testing to determine what kinds of meat were in 45 pet food products from 16 brands produced in the city-state and found multiple vulnerable or endangered species in the ingredients list.  Many manufacturers list shark meat as "white fish" or "ocean fish" and don't give consumers details on what their pets are consuming, according to the study.

Conservations warn horseshoe crabs could go to extinct because their blood is being used in Covid vaccines and for drug testing.  Horseshoe crabs have been around for 450 million years, surviving mass extinctions and several ice ages, but conservationists say the creatures could soon go extinct because their bright blue blood is vital to pharmaceutical companies.  The blue blood has immune cells, known as Limulus polyphemus (LAL), which are sensitive to toxic bacteria and can be used to test vaccines and drugs for dangerous bacterial toxins before products hit the market.  The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and has been vital tool in testing the coronavirus vaccines currently on the market.

8 Ridiculous 'Green New Deal' Programs in Democrats' Bloated Spending Bill.  [#6]  $50 Million for Bees and Desert Fish:  The spending package includes a subtitle on wildlife conservation.  It provides special attention to a select handful of creatures, meaning that some animals are more equal than others.  Section 70607 would spend $25 million to conserve species of "desert fish."  Section 70605 would similarly dedicate $25 million for "pollinators," or bees.  Incredibly, this is the second earmark for bees this year, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill drizzling $10 million their way in a package that's supposedly focused on roads and bridges.

Komodo dragons are now classified as an endangered species, and climate change is being blamed.  The real-life version of Godzilla, the Komodo dragon, is now an endangered species, and experts believe the species is headed toward extinction.  Recently, the largest lizard in the world had been moved from a vulnerable species to an endangered one on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.  Last week, a report from the conservation organization revealed how bad the situation has gotten for the Komodo dragon.  Komodo dragons, which can grow up to 10 feet long, have venomous saliva and can easily take down a water buffalo, They reside only in Indonesia at the Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and on a few nearby islands.  They are a protected species and rarely come in contact with people, with only a few documented attacks on humans.

The Lesser Prairie Chicken Is the New Canary in the Coal Mine.  Environmental activists in the federal government are wasting no time recovering their Obama-era swagger and aggressively taking ground.  On February 1, President Biden issued Executive Order 14008, which promotes a "whole of government" approach to fighting climate change.  Four months later, we are starting to see what that looks like.  From the Treasury Department to the Department of the Interior, the federal government is pushing a radical agenda to control more of our property and activities.  For example, on May 26, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  That was followed with a June 4 announcement that FWS and NOAA Fisheries will roll back five ESA regulations implemented by the Trump administration.  The Endangered Species Act is a favorite tool for environmental activists in and out of government.  The ESA does not have a great track record of saving animals from threat or extinction.  However, it is really good at filling the coffers of environmental groups through sue and settle schemes.

EPA says it will declare a desert flower an 'endangered species' that could halt a mine necessary for electric vehicle batteries.  The idiotic and expensive plans to force electric vehicles down the throats of drivers has run into an obstacle created by an law that environmentalists demanded.  You can't have electric vehicles without lithium ion batteries, and you can't build all those car batteries without a supply of lithium, which some warn will be inadequate soon. [...] Lithium is far from the only problem that makes electruc vehicle conversion plans a total fantasy.  Electricity production would have to vastly increase, and solar or wind just can't provide that kind of power.  Burn more coal?  Natural gas?  Nuclear power?  How about those new factories to build those cars and batteries?

Tasmanian Devils set paw on mainland Australia after 3,000 years.  The world's largest surviving marsupial carnivore, the Tasmanian Devil, has been returned to the wild on Australia's mainland for the first time in 3,000 years.  Actor couple Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky joined conservation groups last month to release 11 of the animals into a wildlife sanctuary in New South Wales, with more releases to follow.

A Victory for Property Rights and Common Sense.  Federal wildlife conservation officials are proposing, for the first time, to amend regulations that define what "habitat" means under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It's a clarification of law, and the closing of a loophole, that's long overdue.  Despite the predictable outcry from environmental groups, the proposed habitat definition will likely help species conservation.  The new definition simply states that if a species does not or cannot live in a certain area in its current state, it is not habitat.  Moreover, the clarity provided by this new definition should decrease the amount of time and resources that federal agencies spend on defending (or attempting to avoid) lawsuits brought by activist groups.  This new rulemaking is the latest instance of the Trump administration's commendable efforts to streamline and reform the ESA and other major environmental statutes, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Bureau of Land Management's grazing regulations.

Blue Bee Feared to Be Extinct Is Found in Florida.  As soon as the blue calamintha bee arrived on the scene, scientists worried it might be gone for good.  The indigo insect was last spotted in central Florida in 2016, five years after it was first identified.  But this spring, just as Americans began to hunker down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rare blue bees, known scientifically as Osmia calaminthae, were rediscovered in the same region foraging on Ashe's calamint, a dainty violet flower that blooms in certain scrub habitats.

Ignoring Warnings, Mich.  AG Sued to RAISE Lake Level Ahead of Dam Break — to Protect Mussels.  In her ongoing audition to be Joe Biden's veep pick, Michigan Governess Gretchen Whitmer all but convicted a private dam owner for the disastrous floods that struck the middle of the state last Wednesday [5/20/2020].  However, it wasn't the dam company that was trying to save a few clams — it was Whitmer's radical attorney general, Dana Nessel.  Nessel was suing the dam company to raise the lake level three feet in order to save mussels — both endangered and common — and in their response, the dam company cited safety as a reason for not doing so.  But to Dana Nessel, who is also suing to keep Michigan's chilly Upper Peninsula from having a reliable source of propane, citing an imaginary concern over a pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, people come second.  A distant second.

Dogfight over endangered species looms over efforts to delist gray wolf.  Trying to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list has been like prying a pack of the predators off a fat elk carcass:  messy, more than a little risky and with no guarantee of success.  With gray wolves thriving since their 1995 reintroduction, a dogfight is looming as the Fish and Wildlife Service and House lawmakers ramp up their efforts to delist the animals, setting up another battle over the Endangered Species Act with environmentalists.  Reps. Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, and Rob Bishop, Utah Republican, jumped back into the fray last week with legislation to end the gray wolf's endangered species status in the Lower 48.

American Burying Beetle Downgrade.  In the very first volume of Federal Fumbles, I wrote about everyone's least favorite winged insect, the American burying beetle (ABB).  Even though the ABB's population has significantly increased over the years, the bug remained listed on the endangered species list.  This resulted in developers purchasing $30,000 in beetle credits to develop on lands where the beetle may reside.  I said it then, and I'll say it again:  bugs should not take priority over people.  We should not drive a bug into extinction, but we should acknowledge species growth.  A September 2019 proposal was made to downgrade the beetle from an endangered species to a threatened species because it no longer meets the definition of an endangered species.

Koalas 'Functionally Extinct' After Australia Bushfires Destroy 80% Of Their Habitat.  As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them "functionally extinct."  The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Tiny deer-like animal thought lost to science photographed for first time in 30 years.  A tiny deer-like creature about the size of a rabbit has been photographed in the wild for the first time in three decades in southern Vietnam, delighting conservationists who feared the species was extinct.  The silver-backed chevrotain, also called the Vietnamese mouse deer, was last recorded more than 25 years ago when a team of Vietnamese and Russian researchers obtained a dead chevrotain from a hunter.

Data Suggests Less "Climate Crisis" Than the Eco-Activists Would Have You Believe.  A series of news reports seem to give evidence that global conditions are getting increasingly better, which should bring climate alarmists, green justice warriors, and Extinction Rebellion cultists cause to celebrate.  To begin with, the American bison (i.e., buffalo) were on the verge of actual extinction.  Now, their herds have increased to the point officials have reintroduced the animal to an area of the Badlands National Park area.  Those will be the first bison in that area in about 150 years. [...] In 1884, there were 325 bison left in the United States.  Now, there are over 500,000.

17 states sue Trump administration over weakening of Endangered Species Act.  A coalition of state Attorneys General — led by California, Maryland and Massachusetts — are suing the Trump administration over recent changes made to the way it enforces the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  California AG Xavier Becerra (D) challenged the Trump administration's changes to the way it will protect species under the ESA as a choice "to prioritize endangering endangered species rather than protecting them."

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism — August 24.  1995 — The citizen-suit provision of the Endangered Species Act authorizes "any person" to sue for violations of the ESA.  Demonstrating why liberal judicial activists should be an endangered species, Ninth Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt, joined by two other Jimmy Carter appointees (Harry Pregerson and William C. Canby, Jr.), rules in Bennett v. Plenert that the so-called "zone of interests test" that courts have developed (beyond Article III's constitutional requirements) as a prudential limitation on standing overrides the broad language of the citizen-suit provision.  Therefore, the court concludes, "plaintiffs who assert no interest in preserving endangered species" — in this case, ranch operators and irrigation districts who alleged that they would be harmed by reservoir levels designed to protect two species of sucker fish — cannot challenge violations of the ESA.

Leaving the Democrats.  In 1978, I got a job in the wood products industry at a particleboard factory and began work a schedule that just became normal to me.  [S]even days on, two days off, working nights, weekends, and most holidays.  I wore "save the whales" t-shirts at work.  The industry came under attack because of environmental concerns for the spotted owl.  The lumber and wood products industry in the West was decimated over the next 15-20 years.  We tried to muster support from our government, but our efforts fell on deaf ears.  Eventually after 22 years, the facility I worked at closed.  The ability to do what we did, which was to recycle sawdust and discarded wood into a usable product, became too expensive as we had to go further and further away for our raw materials.  The logging industry was gone because of environmentalism and government policies to put animal concerns ahead of humans.

Mexican Gray Wolf Livestock Kills are Rising Rapidly in Arizona and New Mexico.  Endangered Mexican gray wolves, reintroduced by the federal government to parts of the Southwestern United States, have killed nearly as many cows and calves in the first four months of 2019 as they did all of last year, causing an increase in tensions among U.S. wildlife managers, environmentalists, and rural residents.  The federal government reports the wolves killed 88 domestic animals in Arizona and New Mexico from January through April of this year.  If this pace of livestock killings continues, the wolves will far surpass the nearly 100 livestock kills confirmed in 2018.

The Editor says...
Every time a hundred head of cattle die, the price of hamburger goes up.  Nobody depends on wolves for anything.

The UN's extinction warning doesn't add up.  Anyone watching the BBC's News at Ten on Monday [5/6/2019] would have been surprised to learn that economic growth poses a dire threat to the future of life on this planet. [...] 'One million species at risk of imminent extinction according to a major UN report,' intoned the BBC.  'It says the Earth's ecosystems are being destroyed by the relentless pursuit of economic growth.'  So does this mean the Extinction Rebellion protestors are right?  I decided to do some digging to see if one million species really do 'face extinction in the next few decades', as the BBC put it.

New UN Report On Looming Mass Extinctions Exposed in US House Testimony.  A new UN report warns that "around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades."  That allegation was contained within the 1,800-page Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) "Summary for Policy Makers," released on May 6.  If "decades" means 30 to 40 years, then the IPBES estimates an extinction rate of about 25,000 to 30,000 species annually.  Not only are there a lot of species in peril, they asserted that "the threat of extinction is also accelerating" and "most of the total extinction risk to species is estimated to have arisen in the past 40 years."  The US House subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife convened a hearing on May 22 to review the contents of the report.  Majority leader Jared Huffman (D) wasted no time in his opening remarks to make it clear that this was a politically driven hearing, not one necessarily searching for extinction truth.

The UN's species extinction fraud.  Al Gore wrote (or a ghost writer) in his 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth, that global warming "is causing the loss of living species at a level comparable to the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 6.5 million years ago". [...] Extinctions have always been an integral part of the Earth's history and in recent centuries mankind has been the cause of some.  We have encroached on the habitat of some animals.  But in fact not a single species has been shown to be either threatened or endangered by warming of the Earth by man's increasing use of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide emissions therefrom.  The recent alarmist report, to the contrary, issued by the UN, contains no physical evidence whatever.

The UN's species extinction fraud.  We have encroached on the habitat of some animals.  But in fact not a single species has been shown to be either threatened or endangered by warming of the Earth by man's increasing use of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide emissions therefrom.  The recent alarmist report, to the contrary, issued by the UN, contains no physical evidence whatever.  It is entirely based on cherry picked sampling data which is then fed into a mathematical equation primed to yield the absurd alarmist report which a willing media announces in shrieking tones (as usual).  These people know they are lying but are not bothered by it, which is why we get so many horrid politicians.

The latest hurdle at Camp fire debris cleanup?  Endangered frogs near 800 homes.  Environmental concerns, including fear of harming a sensitive frog species, have forced Camp fire crews to back away from cleaning some properties in the Paradise area.  State officials tasked with debris cleanup say they have been directed not to enter an estimated 800 burned Butte County home sites within 100 feet of a waterway.  They've been told to wait for representatives of several state and federal agencies to reach an agreement on environmental assessment guidelines.

A UN report is concerned about 1 million species going extinct, but its solutions are dead wrong.  Two stories from Australia illustrate the problem we have.  Certain stygofauna only evolve in one specific place, exist only there, and do not spread.  Therefore, any mine that digs up a few thousand acres will be driving a number of species extinct.  Some insist that a planned mine must prove the impossible, that a uranium mine will not make extinct some bug or other, a bug we don't know the existence of as yet, cannot test for, but we must prove we won't eradicate it by digging a hole.  If this is our definition of species, and it is the wider one, then we're not in fact damaging biodiversity at all.

The Perversion of the Endangered Species Act.  Neither President Nixon nor Congress could have predicted what the ESA has become today.  Today, as many of you know, the ESA allows the federal government to lock up large swaths of federal and private lands — often removing them from any recreational or productive use.  This alone should concern every private citizen, but the perversion of the ESA doesn't end there.  Even when a species is successfully recovered, the federal government often won't, or maybe worse, can't relinquish management of the species.  No species is a better example than the grizzly bear. [...]

Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'.  The world's insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a "catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems", according to the first global scientific review.  More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found.  The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles.  The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Some supposedly extinct animals may still be around.
Extinct Red Wolf DNA Discovered in Pack of Galveston Strays.  The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980, and while forty or so red wolves were captured, bred in captivity, and reintroduced into the wild in North Carolina in 1990, there have been mysterious unconfirmed reports of red wolf sightings scattered along the Texas Gulf Coast for decades.  Those sightings were typically dismissed — scientists were certain coyotes were being mistaken for the elusive wolf.  But now there's some evidence indicating that red wolves may actually have a genetic presence along the coast in Texas.

Supreme Court Deals Unanimous, Welcome Blow to Administrative State in Frog Case.  Unanimity is elusive in today's America but the Supreme Court achieved it last week.  Although the dusky gopher frog is endangered, so are property rights and accountable governance.  Both would have been further jeopardized if the frog's partisans in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had gotten away with designating 1,544 privately owned Louisiana acres as a "critical habitat" for the three-inch amphibian, which currently lives only in Mississippi and could not live in the Louisiana acres as they are now.

Case of Endangered Frog May Indicate Strengthening Property Rights.  A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Tuesday [11/27/2018] called into question the government's ability to declare a piece of land to be protected habitat for an animal that doesn't live there.  The ruling also indicates landowners' growing ability to challenge government decisions about their property, an attorney in the case said.  In 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the dusky gopher frog as an endangered species.  Agency officials proposed 1,500 acres in St. Tammany Parish as part of its critical habitat.  The frogs don't live there.  But the agency said the site met the legal definition of "critical habitat" because its rare, high-quality breeding ponds and distance from existing frog populations made it essential for the species' conservation.  With some modifications, the agency said, the site could provide a suitable home for the species.

Supreme Court Sides with Landowners in Dispute over Frog Habitats.  The Supreme Court on Tuesday [11/27/2018] ruled in favor of Mississippi landowners who were prevented from clearing timber on their land due to state environmental laws designed to protect the habitat of a certain species of frog that has never been spotted on the land in question.  The unanimous decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, set aside a lower-court ruling that held that the land used to grow timber by the lumber company Weyerhauser Co. was rightfully declared a "critical habitat" for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

This is where "protected species" will get you.
Monkeys kill elderly woman in Agra.  A 58-year-old woman died after being attacked by monkeys when she had gone out of her house at Thok Mohalla in Agra, two days after an infant was killed by a monkey in the city. [...] Residents took out marches and held a meeting on Wednesday night, demanding monkeys be excluded from the list of protected species under the 1972 wildlife act.  Currently, there are over 25,000 monkeys in the city, according to municipal corporation officials.

Lizard's Legal Status Threatens Texas Oil and Gas Operations.  Texans are once again engaged in a battle to protect both a tiny reptile — the dunes sagebrush lizard — and the giant Permian Basin oil and gas industry.  Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has proposed a complete overhaul of an eight-year-old effort to balance lizard conservation and oil and gas production, in response to a new effort by environmentalists to have the lizard listed as endangered under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Declare San Francisco Critical Habitat for Grizzly Bears?  Drive through San Francisco on any given day and you are likely to see more than a few grizzly bears.  No, they will not be soiling sidewalks in the Tenderloin or chasing high-tech billionaires down Market Street.  But they will be flapping in the wind above City Hall and other public buildings.  The grizzly, you see, is California's state animal and adorns its state flag.  Yet not a single wild grizzly has been seen in the state in nearly a hundred years.

Rock climbers campaign to access local cliff closed to protect endangered frogs.  Williamson Rock is a sheer granite wall that rises from chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  Crisscrossed with 300 routes, it has been a proving ground for Southern California rock climbers since the 1960s.  But in a move that outraged many in the climbing community, the area was closed in 2005 to protect an isolated colony of federally endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frogs from being trampled.

We Must All Sacrifice for the Environment (But I meant you — not me!)  The city [of San Francisco] has banned plastic straws, grocery bags, and Styrofoam, and even required solar panels on private buildings.  If it is on the environmental industry wish list, San Francisco is leading the way.  Even so, when activists there insist on leaving more water in the rivers, to protect salmon, they mean water from Central Valley farmers — not their own water.  State regulators have obliged, and water restrictions have been imposed on farms to the south for 25 years.  Hundreds of billions of gallons of water previously used for irrigation have been flushed to the ocean every year, rather than sent through the California Aqueduct to the Central Valley.  Nevertheless, salmon remain endangered.  So now, the California Water Resources Control Board proposes further restrictions, this time including water that is part of the municipal supply of San Francisco.  Public hearings are generating lots of angry responses.

Whose Rights Matter More Before The Supreme Court:  A Man's, Or A Frog's?  Suppose for a moment you owned 1,500 acres of land that your family had owned and worked for generations.  Then, out of nowhere, the federal government said you could no longer use that land as you wished.  Why?  Because of a frog.  Would that anger you?

Catering to [a] Single Wolf Puts California in [Superior] Courtroom.  [Scroll down]  The California version of the federal [ESA] law isn't much different, but it now is being challenged in court over bureaucrats' decision to launch all their protections on behalf of a single gray wolf, which lives in neighboring Oregon.  The CESA designated the gray wolf as endangered last year, but the California Cattlemen's Association and the California Farm Bureau, pointing out that the rules forbid them from even "chasing [a] wolf to the border of his or her property," sued the California Fish and Game Commission, the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Cascadia Wildlands.

The Editor says...
The Pacific Legal Foundation asserts that "The Gray Wolf's listing is illegal because it is based on the presence of a non-native subspecies of wolf."

The Week.  [Scroll down]  The Trump administration is looking to change the regulations surrounding the Endangered Species Act.  Forty-five years after its initial enactment, the law largely serves to throw a wrench in economic development and to stop property owners from improving their land, even when the benefits to endangered species are small or nonexistent.  The current regulations bar the government from considering the economic trade-offs posed by designating a species as endangered, for example, and the Fish and Wildlife Service perplexingly grants the same protections to "threatened" species as to "endangered" ones.  In one case the Supreme Court is currently considering, millions of dollars' worth of improvements are being held up because land is "unoccupied critical habitat" for the endangered dusky gopher frog.  Yes, "unoccupied": The frog doesn't live there, hasn't for decades, and indeed can't — the land is no longer habitable to it, though there are some "ephemeral ponds," which are one landscape feature the frogs need.  Only Congress can truly rewrite this mess of a statute, but the administration is justified in taking steps to align the regulations with common sense.

Supreme Court to Take Up Case of Dusky Gopher Frog.  The Supreme Court on Monday [1/22/2018] agreed to take up a case about an isolated Mississippi frog that tests the scope of habitat protections under the Endangered Species Act.  The case pits landowners and property-rights advocates against environmentalists and the federal government.  It centers on a 2012 action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog.  The frog has been listed as an endangered species since 2001, when the known adult population was about 100, all from a single pond in Mississippi.

California Fires:  Government Policies, Not Global Warming.  As large swaths of California are yet again on fire, environmentalist groups, the leftist media, and Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown are quick to blame climate change.  But the burning in California has more to do with misguided and short-sighted environmental regulations than with weather or climate. [...] The Endangered Species Act has made it nearly impossible for private-property owners to clear dead brush from their own land because it may destroy habitats of protected species.  From 1993 until 2003, residents of Riverside County were prohibited from removing brush from their properties because such brush had become a habitat for the endangered kangaroo rat.  When a wildfire broke out there in 2003, the dry, dead brush served as kindling as the blaze destroyed 2,700 homes and killed 27 people.  The rat's habitat was also destroyed.  So, in what can charitably be described as a misguided attempt to save the environment from the ravages of human activities, government regulations have made the fires worse.

Wise Giants and Arrogant Dwarves.  [S]ince 2008, during the peak of drought, 1.4 trillion gallons of water have been dumped into the Pacific.  And why?  Affluent progressive environmentalists, who don't have to provide their own food, and who fancy themselves the possessors of ecological and global warming "science," are harming an essential industry and driving up food and energy costs in order to protect the Delta Smelt, a two-inch bait-fish.  There is no scientific demonstration of how the extinction of the Delta Smelt would harm humans or threaten their existence, any more than the extinction of 99% of all the species that ever existed has held back the human race.  Instead, bad environmental "science," old nature-love clichés, and a Disneyfied understanding of humanity's relationship to nature are driving the smartest people in history into doing things an illiterate farmer in 1850 had too much common sense to do.

US proposes roll back of endangered species protections.  The US administration of President Donald Trump on Thursday [7/19/2018] proposed sweeping changes to the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act which would roll back protections for threatened animals, sparking alarm by environmentalists.  The 1973 federal law is considered the gold standard for global environmental protection, and is credited with saving dozens of key species from extinction, including bald eagles, manatees, humpback whales and American alligators.  One proposed change, announced by the Interior and Commerce Departments, would remove a sentence that aims to separate economic impacts from decisions about animal protection.  Other provisions would vary protections for animals on a case-by-case basis.

California's Delta Tunnels:  An Unnecessary $15 billion, 15-Year Jobs Program.  When Jerry Brown was elected for his third term, he ran with it in 2011 now claiming the tunnels were needed to protect the Delta Smelt, a non-indigenous fish.  "To protect smelt from water pumps, government regulators have flushed 1.4 trillion gallons of water into the San Francisco Bay since 2008," Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley wrote in 2015.  "That would have been enough to sustain 6.4 million Californians for six years."  During his 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to "open up the water" in drought-stricken California, acknowledging that the "drought" was political.

O.C. man gets prison time for again smuggling endangered songbirds from Vietnam to the U.S..  A previously convicted bird smuggler from Orange County was sentenced Monday to a year and a half in federal prison for conspiring to smuggle endangered "good luck" songbirds into Los Angeles from Vietnam.  Sony Dong, 56, who was also ordered to pay a $5,500 fine, was taken into custody immediately following the hearing in downtown Los Angeles.  U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said the conditions in which the tiny birds were trafficked — concealed in suitcases or taped to the legs and ankles of smugglers — were "deplorable."

Tennessee man catches, kills 6½-foot timber rattlesnake after it swallows squirrel in backyard.  Rob Freeman caught the snake after his wife saw it while playing with their son in the backyard, The State reported.  Freeman reportedly called the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before killing the snake, as the species are threatened or endangered in certain parts of the U.S., according to WKRN.  In Tennessee, the snakes are "protected from harvest" and listed as "in need of management" according to the Tennessee Herpetological Society.

Remember how climate change was going to wipe out all the mountain Pikas?  Never mind.  The American pika (Ochotona princeps), a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America.  It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change.  But is there more to the story?

Is Florida on track for a record year of manatee deaths?  Florida's annual manatee counts have more than doubled in the past 20 years, to more than 6,600.

Feds want to capture Florida whooping cranes and move them to Louisiana.  If you have never seen a stately whooping crane in the wild in Florida, better hurry.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to transplant a bunch of them to Louisiana.  The whoopers — as they're sometimes called — live in a couple of different places in the state.  The flock the federal agency is targeting lives in the Kissimmee Prairie area of Central Florida, around Leesburg.  It numbers only 14, according to the agency.  The Kissimmee whoopers are part of a long-term experiment to spread the 5-foot-tall endangered birds into habitat they occupied decades ago.

Warmists foiled again:  Answer to what's causing frog populations to decline is just plain embarrassing.  You know the drill because we've seen the same story so many times.  Reports come in that scientists have discovered declining populations of a species of some sort somewhere.  Scientists study.  For quite some time, they come up with no good answer.  Concern grows.  For maximum publicity and popular hand-wringing, it helps to be cuddly, cute, exotic, beautiful, or funny critters.  But even if they are repulsive, sooner or later, global warming is blamed.  Conclusion:  We're doomed!

Congress Targets 1973 Endangered Species Act for Improvement.  Saying the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) is expensive, has failed to protect species, and has been hijacked by special-interest groups, Republican Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Dean Heller (NV) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) introduced companion bills to revise it for the first time in more than 25 years.  Both Senate Bill 935 and its companion bill — House Resolution 2134, the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act — note the ESA has failed to achieve its stated goal of recovering endangered or threatened species.  Since 1973, less than 1 percent of the total number of species listed as endangered or threatened in the United States have been removed from the list.  Just 47 out of 1,652 listed species in the United States have been removed from the endangered or threatened lists because of recovery.

The butterfly effect:  Trump's border wall could be blocked because it threatens endangered insects.  A tiny endangered butterfly could stop President Donald Trump from building his beloved border wall.  A lawsuit has been filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, environmental groups and the State of California against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  It outlines that the Quino checkerspot butterfly, Riverside fairy shrimp and the Pacific pocket mouse will be threatened if the border wall is built.  The butterfly, which is native to southern California and Northern Mexico, is already on the endangered species list.

Wind farm seeks to increase allowed number of bat deaths.  The Hawaiian hoary bat, or 'ope'ape'a, is Hawaii's only native land mammal, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which adds that "relatively little research has been conducted" on the bat's habitat and population.  The nocturnal creature with a brown-and-gray coat and white-tinged ears preys on insects and is believed to roost among trees in areas near forests.  The bat has been spotted on Hawaii island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, and population estimates have ranged from hundreds to a few thousand.  In October 1970, the bat was listed as a federally endangered species.  The nene, meanwhile, has been listed as endangered since 1967 and has an estimated statewide population of around 2,500, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is out of control and we should all be concerned.  The Obama era tradition of bureaucratic overreach is alive and well in the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Using an endangered frog, the Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to dictate how private landowners use their land.  The saga of the dusky gopher frog is lengthy, but one perfectly illustrative of federal government overreach into the rights of the private citizenry.  Protecting endangered species is part of the function of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but a recent string of court decisions, based on a classic sue-and-settle case, has given the agency virtually unlimited power.  And it's all thanks to a frog.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bears No Longer Endangered, Interior Dept.  Declares.  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared conservation efforts to save the Yellowstone grizzly bears a success, with the animals having recovered sufficiently to remove federal protections from the bears and return responsibility to the states and tribes.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is issuing a final rule to remove the bears from the Endangered Species List (ESL).  The agency determined the number of Yellowstone grizzly bears has risen from as few as 136 in 1975 to an estimated 700 today in a population that has remained relatively stable for more than a decade, according to a press release from Zinke's office.

FWS Drops Mexican Vole From Endangered Species List.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has removed the Hualapai Mexican vole from the endangered species list, three decades after mistakenly listing the rodent as an endangered subspecies of Mexican vole in 1987, according to a final rule published in the Federal Register.  The state of Arizona filed a petition with FWS to have the creature removed from the list in 2004, citing an analysis showing the Hualapai was not a distinct subspecies of the Mexican vole.  Despite accepting Arizona's evidence in 2008, it was not until 2015 FWS drafted a rule to remove the vole from the endangered species list.  Thirty years after it was mistakenly listed as endangered, the vole lost its protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) at the end of July.

Logging Business Crushed on Behalf of Locally Nonexistent Frog.  Like the Clean Air Act and many other overly broad regulations that superficially sound good to people who are not paying attention, the Endangered Species Act has been a carte blanche for radicalized federal agencies to impose tyranny.

State may push to get panther off endangered species list.  Florida panthers are prowling the state's swamps, ranchlands and forests in numbers not seen in at least half a century. [...] The panther, one of the original 14 mammals named to the endangered species list in 1967, has rebounded sharply from a low of just 20 or 30 south and west of Lake Okeechobee.  Today an estimated 150 to 250 of them stalk deer, hogs and other prey in southwest Florida, with adventurous males ranging into central and northern Florida.

Trump administration removes protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears.  The Trump administration is removing Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears, after they spent more than four decades on the threatened list.  The Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting decision Thursday [6/22/2017], which immediately drew rebukes from conservationists and Democrats.  Officials said that conservation efforts for the bear, a more than fourfold increase in its population and state policies designed to protect the bears show that the delisting is warranted.

Environmentalists pout rather than celebrate successful recovery of bird species in Texas.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service states the purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.  When Congress passed the ESA in 1973, it recognized that our right natural heritage is of "esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people."  The law's ultimate goal is to "recover" species so they no longer need protection under the ESA.  Texans have accomplished this goal with the golden-cheeked warbler species.  A 2015 study by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources produced scientific evidence that the warbler population is 19 times larger than when the species was listed in 1990.  Yet, the warbler species remains under federal regulation.

Court Upholds ESA Land Grabs Made to Protect Species Not Living on Private Property.  By a vote of eight to six, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declined to reopen proceedings in Markle v.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in which an earlier panel of the court determined FWS could list as critical habitat private property that currently contains no members of a protected species.  At issue in the case was whether FWS can designate an area as critical habitat for an endangered species, in this case the dusky gopher frog, if the species doesn't occupy the area so designated and current conditions preclude the species from using the area for habitat.  The lower court's decision to allow the designation remains in force.

Lawsuit Seeks to Remove Gray Wolf from CA Endangered Species List.  A lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) on behalf of California farmers and ranchers alleges a state commission's 2014 decision to list gray wolves as an endangered species is illegal.  The suit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court on January 31, says the listing was illegal because, among other things, the gray wolves at issue are a non-native species originally from Canada, not a subspecies originally native to California.  Accordingly, the wolves that entered California are not protected under the 1970 California Endangered Species Act.

Bumblebee Halts SW Metro Road Project.  The Rusty Patched Bumblebee was just put on the endangered species list.  Experts say their numbers have been dropping over the years.  And that decision has halted work on a busy stretch of Flying Cloud Drive near Highway 101 in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen.  Project managers said that while the bee hasn't been spotted in the work area, the lay of the land makes it prime habitat for the pollinator.

Trump Administration Delays Listing Bumblebee as Endangered.  The Trump administration on Thursday [2/9/2017] delayed what would be the first endangered designation for a bee species in the continental U.S., one day before it was to take effect.

Rare 'cave squeaker' frog seen in Zimbabwe for first time in 55 years.  The Arthroleptis troglodytes, also known as the "cave squeaker" because of its preferred habitat, was discovered in 1962, but there were no reported sightings since then.

Dems Won't Rule Out Endangered Species Act Suits To Block Trump's Wall.  President Trump's political opponents may use existing federal laws designed to protect endangered species to stop him from building a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants coming from Mexico.  Environmentalists say Trump's proposed border wall would hinder the movement of endangered species migrating through their natural, cross-border habitats, and activists aren't above filing suit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to stop the wall.

CA's Senator Boxer Attempts To Block Her Own Bill.  California Tea Party activists have long battled the bureaucrats and politicians over policies related to water.  One of the most well-known of the myriad of issues is the diversion of water from farms in the Central Valley (a major source of this nation's fruits and nuts... outside of San Francisco, that is).  One goal of this reallocation of a prime agricultural resource is the protection of a bait fish known as the Delta Smelt.  Last week, the House of Representatives easily passed a major water bill that includes emergency aid for Flint, Mich., and boosts U.S. ports, dams and waterways.  This bill, known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), was initially co-authored by the notorious Senator Barbara Boxer, who infamously derided a Brigadier General for referring to her as "ma'am".

18 States Sue Feds Over Expanding 'Critical Habitat' to Areas With No Protected Species.  Eighteen states have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over Final Rules that expand the definition of "critical habitat" to include areas that are currently unoccupied by any threatened or endangered species.  The Final Rules, Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat, which were published in the Federal Register on February 11 and went into effect March 14, expand the definition of "critical habitat" to include areas in which "species presence or habitats are ephemeral in nature, [or] species presence is difficult to establish through surveys (e.g. when a plant's 'presence' is sometimes limited to a seed bank)."

Feds Thinking About Killing 31,000 Mining Jobs To Protect A Chicken.  A new report has government officials considering setting 10 million acres of across six states in the American west off limits to mining and development to protect the chicken-like Greater Sage Grouse, which is not an endangered species.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report found that much of the Sage Grouse's habitat sits on top of extremely valuable deposits of minerals including gold, copper, lithium, silver, uranium and many others.  The USGS report means that the government's most restrictive grouse protection plan could kill even more than 31,000 jobs and lead to more than $5.6 billion in reduced annual economic output, estimated by a Western Energy Alliance report.  Federal agencies have already frozen new mining claims across the 10 million acres while they do another environmental impact study.

Giant Panda no longer endangered species, say conservationists.  The Giant Panda is no longer an endangered species following decades of rescue efforts, conservationists have confirmed.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which keeps track of threatened species across the world, said it was reclassifying the animal as only 'vulnerable.'

Greater Sage Grouse Protections Hatching Lawsuits.  The Obama administration's greater sage grouse protection plan has spawned multiple lawsuits, including two since April.  The administration's plan to protect the sage grouse, while avoiding listing the ground-dwelling bird as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), places strict limits on the use of more than 180 million acres of federal, state, and private lands across the bird's historic range, which covers 11 Western states.  In one lawsuit, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and lawyers for nine Nevada counties, ranchers, and miners say three top Interior Department officials, who dubbed themselves the "Grouseketeers," illegally sought input from conservationists outside the planning process.  They say the grouse protection plan contravenes the best scientific evidence presented by the Obama administration's own experts.

Wind Turbines Killing Tens of Thousands of Bats, Many Endangered.  Wind turbines are killing bats, including ones on the endangered species list, at nearly double the rate set as acceptable by the Ontario government, the latest monitoring report indicates.  Bats are being killed in Ontario at the rate of 18.5 per turbine, resulting in an estimated 42,656 bat fatalities in Ontario between May 1 and October 31, 2015, according to the report released by Bird Studies Canada, a bird conservation organization.  Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources has set 10 bat deaths per turbine as the threshold at which the mortalities are considered significant and warrant action.  The bats being killed by turbines in Ontario include the little brown bat, tri-coloured bat, eastern small footed bat, and northern long-eared bat, all on the endangered species list.

Greater Sage Grouse Protections Hatching Lawsuits.  The Obama administration's greater sage grouse protection plan has spawned multiple lawsuits, including two since April.  The administration's plan to protect the sage grouse, while avoiding listing the ground-dwelling bird as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), places strict limits on the use of more than 180 million acres of federal, state, and private lands across the bird's historic range, which covers 11 Western states.  In one lawsuit, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and lawyers for nine Nevada counties, ranchers, and miners say three top Interior Department officials who dubbed themselves the "Grouseketeers" illegally sought input from conservationists outside the planning process and that the grouse protection plan contravenes the best scientific evidence presented by the Obama administration's own experts.

ESA Delisting Process is Failing According to Testimony.  Witnesses at a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in April testified the Endangered Species Act (ESA) lacks a proper process for delisting species, which they say results in many species remaining on the Endangered Species List when they do not belong there.  There are currently 2,258 species protected under ESA, and only 63 have been delisted since the law's enactment in 1973.  Joel Bousman, the vice president of the Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, testified at the hearing, saying, "When a species is put on the Endangered Species Act list, it's a bit like checking into the Hotel California.  You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."

Let's ditch the doom and gloom and celebrate our improving environment.  [Scroll down]  For the past decade, forest cover [in the U.S.] has been approximately 33 percent, slightly above the global average of 31 percent.  As with carbon emissions, abundant forest cover is not due to the federal government's forest management policies.  Yes, timber production on U.S. Forest Service lands has declined by 83 percent since the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest and other environmental scare stories stifled logging in the 1990s.  However, as unmanaged forests have become denser and older, they have also become more susceptible to drought, fire, disease, and insects.  As a result, forest mortality has tripled as harvesting has declined leaving our national forests with a negative growth rate.

West Coast fisher denied endangered species protections.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped its consideration to give the West Coast fisher — a small, weasel-like mammal predator whose population has nearly disappeared across the West Coast for decades — federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.

California Channel Islands Foxes No Longer Endangered.  On February 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed removing the San Miguel, Santa Rose, and Santa Cruz fox subspecies from the Endangered Species List and downgrading the Santa Catalina Island fox from "endangered" to "threatened" status.  The four fox subspecies native to the California Channel Islands were listed as endangered in 2004 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) after researchers reported population declines of over 90 percent.

Environmentalists Wield Powerful ESA to Kill Jobs.  A.A. "Red" Emmerson, chairman of Sierra Pacific Industries, announced the permanent closure of its sawmill on the Samoa Peninsula in Arcata, California, resulting in the loss of 123 jobs.  Emmerson cited reduced harvests from federal forests and regulatory burdens as the primary reason for the closure.  The shutdown of the last mill on the once-bustling Humboldt Bay was just the timber industry's latest loss in a long and steady decline resulting from endless pressure from environmentalists and from U.S. Forest Service complicity. [...] The closed mills and lost jobs are due primarily to a 1991 court ruling, in which a group of local environmentalists, the Seattle Audubon Society, convinced a court protecting the spotted owl was more important than the robust logging industry in Washington State, Oregon, and California.

Obama's Eleventh Hour Land Grab.  These last several months of the Obama presidency may be the most dangerous time in America's history, at least domestically.  Having nothing to lose and with time waning, Obama is throwing all caution to the wind as he attempts to push as much of his radical anti-freedom agenda as is possible before his tenure comes to a close.  A large part of his or any anti-freedom agenda is the confiscation of wealth and property from the private sector and Obama is leaving no stone unturned in his want to do so.  CFact is reporting on just one of his parting shot land grabs:  the "Endangered Species Act" (ESA). [...] He has ordered the like-minded autocrats at the Interior Department to get busy rewriting and making new rules and regulations to further strengthen the ESA — and weaken us.

Judge: Climate Change Imperils Wolverines and Feds Must Act.  Wolverines need deep mountain snows to den, and scientists warn that such habitat will shrink as Earth heats up.

The Editor says...
Den is not a verb, even if the Associated Press uses it as such.

Critics of California water-tunnel project claim it's gov't waste to save tiny smelt.  Even as it squeezes taxpayers to repair bridges and roads, cash-strapped California is planning a $15 billion water tunnel designed, at least in part, to save a tiny fish that may already be extinct.  The "WaterFix" Twin Tunnels project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown but opposed by environmental groups and taxpayers alike, would bore 150 feet underground to the side of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The plan is to divert fresh water for thirsty farms and communities throughout the state without disturbing the habitat of protected species that live in the delta, including the finger-long delta smelt.  "To a large extent, this seemingly innocuous little fish controls much of what we can or cannot do in the delta," said Robert Shibatani, managing partner and principal hydrologist at the California-based Shibatani Group International.

Marines to spend $50 million moving 1,100 turtles.  The U.S. Marine Corps plans to spend $50 million moving some 1,100 turtles from its training base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., or about $45,454 each.  The program includes a 30-year assessment of their efforts to monitor the desert tortoises that are listed as threatened under federal law.  According to Marine Corps Times, the tortoises live on a section of the base that is to be used for training.

Utah Fights Effort to Introduce Mexican Gray Wolf in State.  Utah state officials are fighting a Department of the Interior (DOI) plan to include southern Utah in a recovery zone for the Mexican gray wolf, a sub-species they say has never lived north of Interstate 40, which runs through the middle of New Mexico and Arizona.  The DOI plan is to lure Mexican gray wolves to southern Utah, an act the Utah Wildlife Board (UWB) warned in a December 2015 letter to DOI would actually harm the species, because Mexican gray wolves would have to compete with and interbreed with northern gray wolves, a separate species.

Isn't survival of the fittest good enough?
Biologists kill bully owls to protect endangered owls.  A biologist and contractor with a lumber company is at the heart of an experiment sanctioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: killing bully owls to protect endangered owls.

Obama admin allocates water for endangered fish, leaves California farmers high and dry.  Despite wetter-than-average weather in California, some farmers are looking at another year of a zero federal water allocation even as the billions of gallons of water continue to be dumped into the ocean in order to save a three-inch fish.  The worst part for many lawmakers at Wednesday's [2/24/2016] House subcommittee hearing is that the Delta smelt remains as vulnerable as ever after the loss of 1.4 trillion gallons of water since 2008 under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Critics of California water-tunnel project claim it's gov't waste to save tiny smelt.  Even as it squeezes taxpayers to repair bridges and roads, cash-strapped California is planning a $15 billion water tunnel designed, at least in part, to save a tiny fish that may already be extinct.  The "WaterFix" Twin Tunnels project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown but opposed by environmental groups and taxpayers alike, would bore 150 feet underground to the side of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The plan is to divert fresh water for thirsty farms and communities throughout the state without disturbing the habitat of protected species that live in the delta, including the finger-long delta smelt.  "To a large extent, this seemingly innocuous little fish controls much of what we can or cannot do in the delta," said Robert Shibatani, managing partner and principal hydrologist at the California-based Shibatani Group International.

The Editor asks...
What is so important about that fish?  If the Delta Smelt is already near extinction, what other animal is starving as a result?  Why aren't the left-wing environmentalists happy to see survival of the fittest in action?

Scientists ID new genus of tree frogs long thought extinct.  For more than a century, two mysterious tree frog specimens collected by a British naturalist in 1870 and housed at the Natural History Museum in London were assumed to be part of a vanished species, never again found in the wild.  Until now.

Scientists ID new genus of tree frogs long thought extinct.  For more than a century, two mysterious tree frog specimens collected by a British naturalist in 1870 and housed at the Natural History Museum in London were assumed to be part of a vanished species, never again found in the wild.  Until now.

Manatees could be reclassified from endangered to threatened.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to announce today [1/6/2016] that it will reclassify manatees in Florida from an endangered species to a threatened species.  The possible reclassification comes as the number of manatees in the state has steadily rebounded since the sea cows were first listed as a federal endangered species in 1973.  No formal announcement has been made by the agency, but a federal regulatory agenda issued six weeks ago said the reclassification was a given.

Environmentalists sue Oregon for removing gray wolf from endangered list.  Environmental groups have sued Oregon wildlife officials for removing gray wolves from a list of state-protected endangered species, officials said on Thursday [12/31/2015].  Three environmental groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity filed a brief petition for judicial review with the Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday [12/30/2015].

Scientists Say Great Lakes Wolves Not At Risk.  Twenty-six wildlife management professionals and scientists signed a joint letter to the Department of the Interior, urging it remove the great lakes gray wolf populations in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from the Endangered Species list.  According to the November 18 letter, the scientists say the species is no longer endangered in the region and does not require further protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Many of the experts previously argued for protecting the wolves in the past, making the letter especially significant.

Sage grouse create stir in Nevada neighborhood.  The regulations establish buffer zones as large as 3 miles in diameter around sage grouse "leks," the traditional breeding grounds for the chicken-sized bird whose numbers have dwindled from 16 million to between 500,000 and 200,000 due in large part to wildfires, mining, livestock grazing and other development across 11 western states.

Federal Fumbles 2015.  For most Americans $30,000 is a substantial amount of money that could pay off debt, purchase a vehicle, or maybe even buy a home.  What about $30,000 to secure a house for a bug?  That is the price some must pay in "beetle credits" to have access to land without disturbing the habitat of the American Burying Beetle, an insect that teeters on being listed as endangered by the federal government.  The American Burying Beetle was listed as an endangered species in 1989 as part of the Endangered Species Act.  Across the country its numbers have soared, yet the beetle still remains listed as threatened by FWS.  Companies within the oil and gas industry have been known to pay upward of $30,000 per drilling well in "beetle credits" to gain access to and develop land on which the beetle may reside.  Remember, the companies who pay for these beetle credits pass that cost on to you, the American consumer.  The federal government has an obligation to serve as a steward of U.S. land and maintain the habitat for God's creatures, but is spending that much really necessary for an insect that no longer needs such protection?

Federal Judge Strikes Down Prairie Chicken Designation.  Judge Robert Junell of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas struck down a federal protection for the lesser prairie chicken (LPC), a species found in southern Great Plains states.  Junell's September 1 ruling overturns a 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list the species, found in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Although in the long term the court's decision could influence how FWS considers voluntary conservation measures when issuing listing decisions under ESA, there is no indication it played any role in the decision made by FWS not to list the related sage grouse as threatened or endangered under ESA on September 22.

Sage grouse
Sage Grouse Not Endangered, Fish and Wildlife Service Decides.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced it has declined to list the greater sage grouse as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The September 22 decision was cheered by some environmentalists and states, decried by others, and seems unlikely to end the nearly decade-long controversy over how best to reverse the sage grouse's long-term decline.  The greater sage grouse population has declined by an estimated 90 percent across its 167 million acres of habitat in 11 Western states.

Are Dead Fish Worth More Than Struggling Farmers?  The hellish drought in California has casualties.  It tried to destroy farmers, and has in some cases, but guess what it really destroyed?  The Delta Smelt.  The much admired, or reviled, species depending on your perspective has declined beyond the point of organic regeneration.  This would hardly be newsworthy, were it not for the fact that environmentalists and their supporters in government have redistributed the dwindling baitfish's suffering to human beings within and beyond the borders of California.

Is Paris treaty all that stands between us and mass extinction?  Scientists are beginning to understand the circumstances of five mass extinctions that transformed the world over the past 4½ billion years. [...] [Elizabeth] Kolbert travelled the world, from the Americas to the Great Barrier Reef to Europe, to document vanishing frogs, bats, rhinoceroses, coral.  In our Anthropocene age, named for the impact of human activity, increasing numbers of species exist only in "frozen zoos", their cells preserved in pools of liquid nitrogen at -195 degrees.  Amphibians, which have been around for 250 million years, are now the most endangered species.

The Editor says...
The amphibians are a class, not a species.

Could Paris Climate Meeting Be The Only Thing That Can Stop Extinction?  So, all this hysteria is about future doom, a 6th mass extinction, with absolutely zero proof?  Awesome.

Obama Administration: Sage Grouse Not Endangered.  The Obama administration announced it will decline to give the greater sage grouse protected status as an endangered species.  The administration credited voluntary land preservation programs for making an endangered listing unnecessary.

60,000 antelope died in 4 days, and no one knows why.  It started in late May.  When geoecologist Steffen Zuther and his colleagues arrived in central Kazakhstan to monitor the calving of one herd of saigas, a critically endangered, steppe-dwelling antelope, veterinarians in the area had already reported dead animals on the ground.  "But since there happened to be die-offs of limited extent during the last years, at first we were not really alarmed," Zuther, the international coordinator of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, told Live Science.

Top 10 reasons to vote Democrat.  [#1]  You think that it's better to pay billions for oil to people who hate us and want us destroyed, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, fish or frog.

'Endangered' cougar has likely been extinct for 70 years.  The eastern cougar has been classified as "endangered" since 1973, but the last records of the animal date back to the 1930s in Maine and New Brunswick.  Most of these cougars were killed in the 1800s as the result of European immigrants clearing forests.  Those immigrants also killed the animals out of concern that the large predators would hunt livestock.

Wolves at the door: Court ruling triggers backlash over Endangered Species Act.  Many view the gray wolf's recovery in the Great Lakes region as one of the Endangered Species Act's success stories.  But to those on the front lines of the wolf's range, the so-called model program in December became a model of judicial overreach.  "Try to put yourself in the farmer's shoes.  It's literally a federal crime.  You could be watching your pasture and you could see a wolf killing your cattle, which is like watching someone at the ATM taking money out of your bank account, and you can do nothing to stop it," said Charlie Poster, assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  The state agency has a backlog of more than $50,000 compensation claims due state farmers who lost livestock to wolves.

Almost-extinct fish keeping water off limits amid Calif. drought, farmers weigh challenge.  At three inches long, the delta smelt is one of the smallest fish in California — but ounce for ounce, no species statewide carries more weight.  Endangered since 1993, the plankton-eating silver minnow is blamed by farmers, lawmakers and water officials up and down the Golden State for locking down billions of gallons of water that otherwise would go to them.  That's because, since the smelt's listing as a protected species, biologists have tried saving the fish, in part, by withholding fresh river runoff annually to maintain smelt-friendly temperature and salinity levels.

Protecting sage grouse could hurt military, report says.  Efforts to protect the greater sage grouse under the federal Endangered Species Act could hurt training operations at numerous U.S. military facilities in the West, according to a new report by the Army.

Cornyn Offers ESA Reform Bill.  The ESA Settlement Reform Act will give local governments and stakeholders a chance to have a say in ESA settlements affecting them, by requiring public notification when a lawsuit has been filed and allowing affected landowners and governments to intervene in the case.  The bill would limit taxpayer liability by disallowing courts from awarding litigation costs when an out of court settlement or consent decree is reached.  In addition, for settlements not involving a consent decree, the court would have to ensure the settlement does not include payments to plaintiffs for their litigation costs.

Congo Monkey Spotted Decades After Species' Alleged Demise.  Welcome back, Bouvier's red colobus monkey.  It's been a while.  The African primate hasn't been seen since the 1970s and was assumed to have become extinct.  But, in a statement released late last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society says two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo were successful in a quest begun in February to confirm reports that Bouvier's is still out there.  They returned with a first-ever snapshot of a mother and infant.

Bouvier's Red Colobus Monkey Photographed Alive and Well in the Republic of the Congo.  Researchers photographed a rare African monkey in the Republic of the Congo, contradicting the long-held belief it had gone extinct.

How the Environmentalists are Destroying California.  In 2007, they mobilized around saving the Delta Smelt, a three-inch baitfish, as an outgrowth of a policy that for decades put animal life and vegetation ahead of drinking water and food.  The Delta Smelt requires a rare and somewhat precise mixture of fresh and salt water.  It is by any measure a fragile species.  In August 2007, Federal Judge Oliver Wanger ruled that the fresh water pumped into the Central Valley, the lifeblood of its economic base, threatened the survival of the Delta Smelt.  He ordered a severe reduction in the water directed to Central Valley agriculture.  The ruling (subsequently reversed for sloppy science and then upheld) resulted in a loss of thousands of jobs and acres of farmland. [...] The fight over the Delta Smelt [...] is a fight between people who value a baitfish over productive farmland and America's food resources.

Should California Spend 4 Billion Gallons to Save a Few Fish?  In the the [sic] heart of California's drought-parched Central Valley, fruit and vegetable supplier to the nation, a water district is defying a federal order to give some endangered trout a 3.9 billion gallon water ride out to sea.  And it could be the first skirmish in a much wider conflict.  The Endangered Species Act protects steelhead trout, a small population of which are attempting a recovery in the Stanislaus River, which flows out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into Modesto, in the San Joaquin Valley.  So earlier this week a federal fisheries agency — it's unclear which one, and there are several — told the California branch of the Bureau of Reclamation (another water agency) that the fish needed more water to get out to the Pacific.  The bureau in turn passed the order to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, telling them to let a pulse of water through the dam on the Stanislaus.

Feds order parched California farm district to use 9 billion gallons of water to save 29 fish.  These eco-Marxists are completely insane.  Off their rockers.

Hummingbird thought to be extinct spotted in Colombia.  Long thought extinct, a rare breed of hummingbird was once again found deep in the Colombian highlands.  The blue-bearded helmetcrest was caught on camera for the first time — allowing scientists and bird lovers across the globe to breathe a sigh of relief that this avian wonder still exists.  The bird — a medium-sized hummingbird endemic to the mountains of the Santa Marta region of northeast Colombia — was first discovered in 1880 but has not been seen in the highlands since 2011.

Monarch butterfly doesn't need so much help.  One year ago, President Obama met with the leaders of Canada and Mexico.  Their agenda included trade, security — and the conservation of the monarch butterfly.  Such high-level attention is nothing new to the monarchs, which are used to being treated like celebrities.  White House meetings are convened to focus on saving them, senators demand their protection and a North American Monarch Conservation Plan has existed since 2008.  A new high-level working group, charged with developing management plans to bolster the butterfly's numbers, includes the heads of the Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Highway Administration and Agriculture Department. [...] But it has gone too far:  A group of organizations and individuals has petitioned the Interior Department to protect the monarch by having it listed under the Endangered Species Act.  I strongly support insect conservation and the organizations behind this effort, but I don't support an endangered listing for the monarch.

Bald eagles soaring back from the brink of extinction.  After being nearly wiped, [sic] the bald eagle is soaring back to health and filling the skies across the United States.  There is no better way to gauge their successful recovery than by checking in on the nests in places like Pennsylvania.  Many are buzzing with chicks and their attentive parents this time of year, giving conservationists much to cheer about.

Sage grouse protection block gives Western developers win over environmentalists.  A successful Republican move to stop in its tracks the Obama administration's bid to list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act may be a sign of things to come in the long-running battle between environmentalists and economic developers across the West.  A GOP policy "rider" tucked into the massive $1.1 trillion spending bill debated by Congress last week cuts off any money for the administration to move on the grouse issue, and with Republicans set to take full control of the House and the Senate next month, that's unlikely to be the last such move.

51 Examples of Government Waste.  [#40] The U.S. Army awarded a $91,318 grant to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to count and determine the population of "little brown bats" in and around Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  The Army hopes this survey will determine whether the bats should be added to the endangered species list.

Regulate First, Ask Questions Later.  Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Gunnison sage grouse a threatened species. [...] By restricting development of a million acres in Colorado and Utah, the designation makes it harder for Americans to feed, house, and clothe themselves.  The Gunnison sage grouse, a smaller variant of the "greater sage grouse," was designated as a separate species only in 2000. [...] Designation of the Gunnison grouse as a threatened species is entirely unnecessary.  Even FWS admits that states, local governments, businesses, and private landowners have taken "extraordinary" steps to preserve the bird.  If the steps already taken are "extraordinary," what else does FWS have in mind?

$40G per bird? California cormorants refuse to budge from bridge being demolished.  Now that a crucial section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been replaced by a new $6.4 billion span, nobody needs it anymore — nobody except about 800 birds who call the decrepit, 78-year-old segment home. [...] "They're spending $33 million to get rid of these 800 birds — that comes out to about $40,000 a bird — that's more money than most people in the United States make in a given year!" said Brian Sussman, a conservative radio talk show host in San Francisco.

States Required to Address Sage Grouse Decline.  Eleven western states face a deadline to show the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service local efforts to protect the greater sage grouse have been effective and federal intervention is unwarranted.  States and Native American tribes have until December 31 to submit information concerning the species' population and habitat status.  The decision on whether to place the sage grouse on the endangered species list is expected by September 2015.

Critics protest Obama's San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  Holding up signs that said "Monumental mistake" and twirling gold-and-silver hula hoops, a handful of protesters gathered in San Dimas on Friday to express their opposition to President Obama's designation of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. [...] Stretching from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino, the San Gabriel watershed is within a 90-minute drive of 17 million people.  The rugged slopes and canyons are home to rare and endangered species, including Nelson's bighorn sheep, mountain yellow-legged frogs and Santa Ana suckers.

Global warming and extinct species: three case studies.  One of the many projected impacts of global warming, or climate change if you prefer, is species extinction. [...] It's also been reported that some species have already been driven to extinction by climate change, with the implication being that we're already seeing the thin end of the wedge.  But are these reports true?  Are the species definitely extinct, and if so was climate change really to blame?

Oops: First Species Wiped Out By Climate Change Lives.  [V]irtually ever animal issue they try and blame on man caused climate change turns out to be wrong.

Half of North American bird species threatened by climate change.  Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded in a study released Monday [9/8/2014].

The Editor says...
Excuse me for repeating myself, but once again, these "threatened species" alarmists are the same people who teach "survival of the fittest" in the public schools.  They should have no problem with natural selection running its course.  But it is a bit difficult to blame extinctions on global warming when there has been no global warming for the past 18 years.

Rare Western bird could decide who controls Senate in November.  The federal government is considering listing the greater sage grouse as an endangered species next year.

Will a Wyoming strategy to save the sage grouse work?  Wyoming's economy is built on the sagebrush steppes sage grouse call home.  Some 15.3 million acres, or 25 percent of the state, is considered important habitat for the bird.  Ranchers rely on these windswept lands to graze their cattle.  Oil, gas and mining companies drill holes in the dusty surface to access the rich treasure trove of hydrocarbons and minerals underground.  Listing the sage grouse as an endangered species could greatly restrict those activities across much of Wyoming.

Kansas Pushes Back Against Federal Prairie Chicken Restrictions.  Kansas public officials are pushing back against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service environmental restrictions regarding prairie chickens.  In March, the FWS listed the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species in five states and proposed stifling land-use restrictions.  According to the FWS, a prolonged drought in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas has reduced lesser prairie chicken numbers in the five states by nearly 50 percent since 2012. Although nearly 18,000 free-roaming lesser prairie chickens remain in the five states, the FWS took the opportunity to use the Endangered Species Act to propose land-use restrictions in the states.  The FWS blames farmers and ranchers for declining prairie chicken numbers, saying the conversion of prairies to farms and grazing lands has dramatically reduced the prairie chicken's natural habitat.

Feds Declare Mouse Endangered, Family Might Lose Everything.  A family's livestock enterprise in New Mexico is in danger of being completely shut down now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the meadow jumping mouse to be an endangered species, Watchdog reports.  The new regulations came into effect from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month, and as a result, the U.S. Forest Service is considering installing 8-foot high fences to protect the mouse, which would permanently prevent the Lucero family's livestock from grazing.  The family is already in possession of grazing permits from the federal government, but the permits become irrelevant in the event that a new species is declared endangered.  The Lucero family has had their livestock graze on the land in the Santa Fe National Forest for more than a century, starting first with sheep, but then switching to cattle in the 1920s.

Activists Seek to Block Florida Space Launch Facility.  Environmental activists are attempting to block construction of a space launch facility in Florida, claiming the proposed site should be preserved for scrub jays and other species.

Why a Chicken and a Mouse Are Stirring Debate in New Mexico.  Last week, four counties in New Mexico joined in a lawsuit stemming from the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.  The announcement came just one day after the Fish and Wildlife Service declared the meadow jumping mouse should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, giving it greater habitat protection but angering ranchers in a southern New Mexico county who are odds with the federal government over water and property rights.

Bird-brained case? Feds go after California tree trimmer for hurting herons.  Ernesto Pulido was hired by the U.S. Postal Service to cut back the trees, specifically to prevent a group of herons from sitting and defecating on the mail trucks parked below.  But in the course of pruning the trees, his crew cut down limbs where the black-crowned night herons — one of 1,026 species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — were nesting.  Several baby birds fell and were injured.  Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reportedly is seeking he pay a $1,500 fine for a misdemeanor violation.  The infraction can carry a penalty of up to $15,000 and six months in jail.

Feds Prosecuting Tree-Trimmer for Unintentionally Bruising Herons.  Ernest Pulido is expected to face charges from the U.S. Attorney's Office within a week for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  He could face a maximum fine of $15,000 and six months in jail.  Pulido was hired by the U.S. Postal Service to prune trees May 3 outside an Oakland, Calif., branch, where postal officials were upset with birds pooping on mail trucks.  One branch that Pulido cut contained nesting black-crowned night herons, one of more than 1,000 species of birds protected under the act.  No birds were killed.  Five were injured and taken to a bird rescue in Fairfield, where the facility said all would heal and be able to be returned to the wild.  One bird suffered a fractured beak while the offers suffered bruises and scrapes.  Pulido is currently paying for the birds' care.  Even though nothing has indicated the tree-trimmer intentionally targeted the birds, Pulido is being referred for prosecution.

Feds drop criminal charges over damaged bird nest.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dropped plans to pursue criminal charges against a California tree trimmer who accidentally injured some baby birds — an incident that attracted the attention of the House's chief investigator and charges of "bureaucratic bullying."  The tree trimmer, Ernesto Pulido, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was recently told that the agency had decided to drop the case against him — an abrupt about-face just days after Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, called for a congressional inquiry.

Federal double standard on endangered species laws?  The federal government is not shy about prosecuting those who violate threatened and endangered species laws.  But under a new Obama administration policy, wind farm operators are getting 30-year permits to kill protected species.  The government fined marine biologist Nancy Black $12,000 and sentenced her to three years probation for feeding a whale in Monterey Bay.  Just last month, US Fish and Wildlife cited 26-year- old tree trimmer Ernesto Pulido for violating the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act for disturbing a nest of herons. P

Oil companies say new fed reg on prairie bird won't fly in South.  Oil companies say a weeks-old Obama administration ruling that protects a Southwestern prairie bird has already halted oil-drilling operations in Kansas and is costing the U.S. economy tens of millions of dollars, as a GOP congressmen suggests the move is another "job-killing" attack on fossil fuel.

Environmental Shakedown.  Despite numerous attempts, the ESA has not had any major revisions in more than 25 years.  The Wall Street Journal states:  "The ESA's mixed record on wildlife restoration and its impact on business have made the law vulnerable to critics."

Environmentalists sue to list bumble bee as endangered.  A bumble bee once common in the United States is disappearing so quickly it should be listed as an endangered species, environmentalists said in a lawsuit filed against U.S. government agencies on Tuesday.

Feds' next land fight: New Mexico ranchers angered over water fenced off to cattle.  The Obama administration's crackdown on Western land use has sparked a furor over the Forest Service's decision to fence off a creek used by thirsty cattle in drought-stricken Otero County, New Mexico.  The Otero County Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss whether to order the sheriff to open the gates against the wishes of Forest Service officials, who have argued that the fence is needed to protect the Agua Chiquita riparian area and habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.

Armed cowboys lay siege to federal agents to get 'stolen' cattle back.  The Bundy family says they've owned the 600,000 acres since 1870 but the Bureau of Land Management says they are illegally grazing.  The dispute began in 1993 when land was reclassified as to federal property to protect a rare desert tortoise, the government claimed.

Nevada officials blast feds over treatment of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy.  Two of Nevada's top elected leaders are riding to the rescue of a rancher whose decades-long range war with the federal government has reached a boiling point in recent days.  The federal Bureau of Land Management has surrounded the Clark County ranch of Cliven Bundy with armed officers, helicopters and four-wheel drive vehicles.  Last week, they began seizing cattle found grazing on adjacent federal lands in violation of a law meant to protect an endangered desert tortoise.

The Editor says...
Oh, now I see what this is all about.  The tortoise wasn't mentioned in any of the news coverage I saw, which by the way was all on Fox News Channel.

Bureau of Land Management Hiding Behind Toothless Tortoise.  A June 1990 study, called The Desert Tortoise in Relation to Cattle Grazing by Vernon Bostick formerly posted to the University of Arizona website (and still found through Google) should prove once and for all the incredible stupidity of the bumbling bureaucrats with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The BLM's self-proclaimed 'Save the Tortoise' balderdash is killing off both the tortoise and cows.

More about the Bundy Ranch and the Nevada Bureau of Land Management.

Critics cry foul as feds place lesser prairie chicken on threatened species list.  The Obama administration on Thursday [3/27/2014] announced plans to place the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species, a move that drew the ire of some lawmakers and energy producers who derided the decision as an "overreach."  The Fish and Wildlife Service's decision, set to take effect around May 1, is a step below "endangered" status and allows for more flexibility in how protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.  The move could affect agriculture, oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico and Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback said he's concerned the decision will hurt the state's economy.

Pikes, Pickets, and Scams.  Whenever the proponents of green energy argue for more money for these failed projects, they assert that the life of every bird, bee, snail, and minnow is precious and that green energy will save what nasty fossil fuels endanger.  We've already seen how the strict rules about killing endangered birds are waived when it comes to avian pâté-making windmills, now it appears that the huge Ivanpah Solar plant interferes with both aviation and bird life, but who's complaining?

Lawsuit Challenges Use Of Endangered Species To Stop Energy Boom.  Oklahoma's attorney general has filed what could become a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing the so-called "sue and settle" procedure for listing animals and plants on the endangered and threatened list violates the federal Endangered Species Act.  Scott Pruitt filed the complaint late Monday on behalf of the state of Oklahoma and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), a national network of oil and gas companies.  The attorney general charges that "by entering into private settlements with special interest litigants, (the Fish and Wildlife Service) has attempted to circumvent the legislative and regulatory process and make fundamental changes to its (Endangered Species Act)-imposed obligations."

Deaths of bighorn sheep in Arizona spark controversy over conservation effort.  The first phase of a three-year plan by Arizona wildlife officials to bolster herds of bighorn sheep has resulted in the death of half the population, after the 31 sheep were transplanted at a cost of $150,000 into the Catalina Mountains where mountain lions killed 15 of the protected species within a few months.  Some animal welfare groups are pushing for an end to the project, but wildlife officials say the conservation effort is not a failure and expect the projected $600,000, three-year plan to result in greater numbers of bighorns in an area where they once co-existed with mountain lions for centuries.

US energy security threatened by prairie chicken and sage grouse.  The Obama administration seems hell-bent on sabotaging domestic energy production, one way or another.  As James Freeman writes in the Wall Street Journal, "Delaying approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, maintaining export limits and discouraging refinery construction haven't stopped a revolution that will soon make the United States the world's largest producer of crude oil."  But the administration, goaded by radical environmentalists, has a new weapon to curtail production: more endangered species. Washington may add a record 757 new species to the endangered list by 2018.

Solar Plants May Make Deserts Too Hot For Tortoises.  We've paid plenty of attention here at KCET to the problems caused for desert tortoises when their habitat is replaced with renewable energy facilities.  But now one scientist is saying that big solar facilities in the Mojave could seal the desert tortoise's fate in a way you might not expect.  According to Barry Sinervo, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Cruz, current solar projects in the California desert intended to slow global warming, including two approved just last week by the Interior Department, could actually make the desert too hot for tortoises to survive past the end of the century.

More about solar power.

The Costs of the Environmentalism Cult.  California is in the third year of a drought, but the problem isn't a lack of water.  The snowfall in the Sierra provides enough to help us ride out the years of drought.  All we need to do is store it.  But California hasn't built a new dam in 35 years.  Worse than that, every year we dump 1.6 million acre-feet of water — about enough to serve 3.2 million families for a year — into the Pacific Ocean in order to protect an allegedly "endangered" 3-inch bait-fish called the Delta smelt.

GOP Has Plan to Get Endangered Species Act Out of 'Litigation Driven' Mode.  Conservatives have long sought changes in the Endangered Species Act, which they claim often serves as a drag on economic development.  They point to instances involving species like the Northern Spotted Owl, listed as threatened under ESA in 1990, which led to a partial shutdown of timber harvesting activity in the Pacific Northwest to protect the bird's habitat.  "Shortly following the listing, the federal government, through the Clinton Administration's Northwest Forest Plan, administratively withdrew nearly 24 million acres of federal land — resulting in no access to nearly 85 percent of the area available for timber harvest — from active management and restricted harvest levels," the report said.  "As a result, over 400 lumber mills have closed across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and California, terminating over 35,000 direct jobs and countless more indirect jobs."

Green Drought.  You have almost certainly never heard of the Delta smelt and, in all honesty, nor should you have.  As fish go, it is undistinguished.  Inedible, short-lived, and growing to a maximum length of just under three inches, smelt are of interest to nobody much — except, that is, to the implacable foot soldiers of the modern environmental movement, some of whom have recently elevated the smelt's well-being above all else that has traditionally been considered to be of value.  Human beings, the production of food, and the distribution of life-enabling water [are secondary], it seems.  All hail the smelt, the most important animal in America.

Team Obama Refuses To Allow Small, Critical Road Through Wildlife Refuge.  I'm all for wildlife refuges, protecting the majesty and beauty of nature.  One road won't hurt.

Abuse of Endangered Species Act threatens American's private property rights.  Obama's policymakers often act nefariously through a tactic called "sue and settle."  They settle litigation with their allies in environmental groups behind closed doors in a way that advances their far-left agenda, blocking out of the process those citizens, states, and local governments affected by their decisions and their subsequent rules and regulations.  Through these secret settlements, they are taking advantage of their position within the administration to institute a much more radical, aggressive agenda than anything actually mandated by law.

Endangered Crustacean Could Delay Metro Plans in Maryland.  The discovery of the tiny Hay's Spring amphipod, a federally protected endangered species, in the waters of Rock Creek Park could delay plans for the Purple Line train to be added to the D.C. Metro rail system.  According to the Rock Creek Conservancy, the amphipod is a ½-to-1-inch colorless, eyeless crustacean that uses hairs to move about and find food.  The Conservancy's website also states that Rock Creek is the only place in the world that the amphipod is found.

Kid Cages at School Bus Stops Spark Outrage.  Environmentalists have galvanized behind a movement to resurrect wolf populations in rural America. [...] In Catron County, New Mexico, aggressive Mexican gray wolves are terrorizing residents.  Here wolves are killing pets in front yards in broad daylight, and forcing parents to stand guard when children play outside.  The threat has become so ominous the local school district has decided to place wolf shelters (kid cages) at school bus stops to protect school children from wolves while they wait for the bus or parents.  These wolf proof cages, constructed from plywood and wire, are designed to prevent wolves from taking a child.  The absurdity of this scenario is mind-numbing.  What kind of society accepts the idea of children in cages while wolves are free to roam where they choose?

An excellent overview of the Endangered Species Act:
The failure of endangered species regulation on private land.  The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted with much fanfare and little controversy in 1973.  At the time, few anticipated how broadly the law would affect both government and private activities.  Yet ever since its celebrated passage, the nation's premier wildlife conservation law has been a source of conflict and controversy; it has been rightly described as "one of the most contentious of our federal environmental laws."  The ESA is a focus of controversy in part because of its strength.  Indeed, the ESA may be the most powerful environmental law in the nation.  For all the Act's strength, it has not been particularly effective at conserving species.  Although it is the "most comprehensive of all our environmental laws," it is not, by any measure, the most successful.

Using 'Sue and Settle' to Thwart Oil and Gas Drillers.  Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an environmental advocacy group agreed to a legal settlement that will place nine species — including the Panama City crayfish, moccasinshell mussel and boreal toad — on the fast track for placement on the endangered species list.  It is only the latest of many such listings.  The Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned Fish and Wildlife to designate some 250 species as endangered since 2008.  Many of CBD's petitions — and lawsuits — are still in the pipeline.  About 97% of the species that are designated as endangered never move off the list.

Polar bears defy concerns about their extinction.  For years polar bears have been the poster boys of global warming — routinely reported to be threatened with extinction due to melting ice-packs and rising sea temperatures.  Indeed, when they were put on the US Endangered Species list in 2008, they were the first to be registered solely because of the perceived threat of global warming.

Timber industry suffers as loggers blame federal regs for lost jobs.  The Rough and Ready Sawmill was an institution in southern Oregon for 91 years. [...] While Rough and Ready sits in the middle of America's richest timber country, the federal government owns 80 percent of the land.  Many in these decimated small towns blame The Endangered Species Act, which paved the way for a flood of lawsuits blocking federal timber sales, because of an endangered species in the region.

Endangered species thriving on US military ranges.  Despite the weekly explosions that rock this Navy-owned island off the Southern California coast, the San Clemente Island loggerhead shrike has been rebounding from the brink of extinction, even on the military's only ship-to-shore bombardment range.

Feds: Kennedys' Sea Turtle Rescue a Violation.  Two members of the Kennedy family who thought they were doing a good deed by freeing an entangled sea turtle actually violated the law, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Delta Project: California's Latest Environmental Boondoggle.  Judges have routinely stopped the water flows out of the Delta toward the dry but agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley and toward Southern California's massive metropolises, to help a tiny endangered baitfish known as the Delta Smelt.  The smelt is viewed as the canary in a coal mine, a bellwether for the ecological health of the waterways.  Millions of smelt are killed each year as they get caught in the giant pumps near Tracy, near the south end of the Delta. Environmentalists also express concerns about the level of saltwater that moves inland from the Pacific Ocean.

Obama's Fundamental Transformation of a Nation He Despises.  [Scroll down]  This year, California's Central Valley, which supplies much of America's fresh fruits and vegetables, will receive only 20% of its normal water allocation for fear of harming the Delta smelt.  A president with real leadership qualities would suspend the efforts to save the smelt and save the humans instead.  But this president is terrified of offending the environmental lobby.  In fact, he wants to go farther.  Why should farmers have any water at all if the smelt's future is at stake?

Military spending millions to protect gophers, while workers go on furlough.  A total of 650,000 civilian employees are now being furloughed at U.S. military bases in response to sequester cuts — but the Department of Defense is still spending millions to protect fuzzy critters.  Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington state just received a $3.5 million department grant to purchase land around the base in an effort to protect the Mazama pocket gopher, a species that has not even been listed as endangered or threatened.

Residents Helpless as Endangered Condors Invade CA Town.  The mighty endangered California condor has decided to take revenge on the people of California.  The birds, which have up to a nine-foot wingspan, have descended Hitchcock-style on the town of Bear Valley Springs, ripping off roof shingles, clawing at air conditioners, and, of course, coating the town in condor feces.

Delta Project: California's Latest Environmental Boondoggle.  [Scroll down]  The [Sacramento-San Joaquin] Delta also is Ground Zero for ongoing fights over the state's water supplies.  Judges have routinely stopped the water flows out of the Delta, toward the dry but agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley and toward Southern California's massive metropolises, to help a tiny endangered baitfish known as the Delta Smelt.  The smelt is viewed as the canary in a coal mine — a bellwether for the ecological health of the waterways.

Pima County will pay $284,000 to protect lizards at construction site.  Pima County will spend $284,000 to save horned lizards and other critters from an untimely and premature squishing at a west-side construction site.  Work is starting on a project to stabilize the banks of the Santa Cruz River from Ajo Way to Silverlake Road.  The river and surrounding parklands are home to regal horned lizards and other uncommon kinds of reptiles and toads.

Green Tyranny.  Louisiana landowner Edward Poitevent wants to build homes and offices north of Lake Pontchartrain.  He could provide safe high-ground housing to people eager to move away from areas that were flooded during Hurricane Katrina.  But he is not allowed to build because the government decided 1,500 acres of his land should become a preservation area for a threatened species called the dusky gopher frog.  None of these frogs currently live on his property.

Gov't Posts 61 New Federal Regulations, Including 500-Page Rule to Protect 'Critical Habitat' of Flycatcher.  The federal government posted 61 new regulations in the Federal Register on Friday [1/4/2013], including the Department of Interior's 500-page document outlining a new rule to protect the southwestern willow flycatcher's "critical habitat" in six states. [...] "The effect of this regulation is to conserve the flycatcher's habitat under the Endangered Species Act," the summary of the regulation states.

Is Every Single Animal and Reptile Endangered?  Animals and reptiles, fish and birds, lizards and turtles, all are born in the wild and all are food for other species. [...] As often as not, those creatures are simply pawns in the environmental movement's effort to close off vast portions of the nation's landmass to access from the energy industries, the timber industry, agricultural interests, and any form of development from new housing to hospitals.

Obama the Job-Killing Owl-Killer.  Punishing loggers and bringing the timber industry to its knees have made vengeful environmental groups fat and happy.  But the northern spotted owl they claim to care so much about is catastrophically worse off thanks to green zealotry.  One root cause:  habitat loss (thanks in part to raging wildfires resulting from poor forest management and green opposition to thinning/controlled burns).  The other major, nonhuman culprit:  the barred owl.

Feds Double Protected Habitat for Spotted Owl Despite Concerns of Job Losses.  President Obama didn't just pardon a couple of turkeys at the White House yesterday, but unveiled a plan to nearly double protected habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl.

Feds to Designate 9.6 Million Acres as 'Critical Habitat' for Spotted Owl.  The northern spotted owl is expected to be allocated roughly 9.6 million acres of forest land to protect it from extinction — roughly twice what was dedicated during the Bush administration in 2008.

Feds to double habitat for spotted owl.  The full critical habitat plan will not be published until next week, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 9.6 million acres of Oregon, Washington and Northern California will come under its provisions, almost all of it federal lands.  The amount is down from nearly 14 million acres proposed last February but still exceeds the 5.3 million acres proposed in 2008.

Green state chokes off its middle class.  Los Angeles' water-fueled growth permanently altered entire habitats, including, most famously, the Owens Valley, which once supported a lake and farming community.  It is now a desert.  Unfortunately, California environmentalists are trying to turn much of the Central Valley's farmland back into desert too.  Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, federal courts have ordered farmers to divert hundreds of billions of gallons of water away from crops and into the Sacramento River, where it is supposed to help revive the delta smelt.

400 plants and animals added to 'threatened' list.  An island-dwelling cockroach and a tiny snail were declared extinct Wednesday [10/17/2012] while 400 plants and animals were added to a threatened "Red List" as global environment ministers met in India.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its authoritative study on the state of biodiversity on Earth, saying 20,219 species were at risk of dying out.

Welcome Back, Wolves. Staying for Dinner?  The return of the wolf is one of the unexpected ecological bonuses of the modern era.  So numerous are wolves that this fall Wisconsin and Wyoming have joined Idaho and Montana in opening wolf-hunting seasons for the first time in years.

Two wolves from Washington state gray wolf pack killed for preying on cattle.  Two gray wolves in Washington state were killed from a state helicopter Tuesday afternoon [9/25/2012] after officials decided the entire pack — believed to be at least eight wolves — needed to be killed because of repeated attacks on cattle, officials said. [...] Gray wolves are listed as endangered under state law because they were nearly wiped out a century ago by settlers.

Gov't to allow Indians to possess eagle feathers.  This is a significant religious and cultural issue for many tribes, who were consulted in advance about the policy the department announced Friday [10/12/2012].

The Editor says...
Why can't I have eagle feathers, too?  Why can't we all have eagle feathers?  Clearly, the government is abetting and promoting the superstitious pagan religion of the Indians by selectively suspending federal law.

Rare spider stops construction on State Highway 151 and Loop 1604.  The discovery of a rare spider is putting a big highway construction project on hold.  The construction has been going on at State Highway 151 and Loop 1604.  The Texas Department of Transportation started working on a $15 million underpass project there to ease that traffic.  However, now that process has come to a halt because of the sighting of the Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver.  Texas DOT officials said an environmental consultant made the rare discovery while on the site about a week and a half ago.  It was found in a 6-foot deep cave, located in the median where crews had been working, after rainfall exposed it.

Rare spider halts construction project.  A road project along Texas' Highway 151 was progressing on time until along came a spider that shut everything down.  The $15 million road expansion plan to construct an underpass has been halted indefinitely as researchers learn more about the Braken Bat Cave Meshweaver.  The Texas Department of Transportation is working with biologists to protect any endangered species in the construction area.

The Editor says...
Let me see a show of hands:  How many of you think one spider looks the same as another?  How many of you, if faced with the situation above, would have run over the spiders with a tractor and kept working?  How many of you would like to get stuck in traffic every morning, knowing that the construction that could have prevented the congestion was halted for the sake of a spider?

How lawsuits target endangered species laws.  The formal process to get a plant or animal listed as an endangered species has become too bureaucratic for many environmental groups that are instead taking the government to court in the hopes of convincing a judge to force the listing.  Researchers at Southern Utah University and Utah State University conducted a study published in March that included examples of this litigious strategy and its impact on the economy.

Wyoming Gov. Mead Seeks End of Protection for Yellowstone Grizzlies.  The Yellowstone grizzly bear was listed as threatened under the ESA in 1975, when the area's grizzly population declined to an estimated 136 bears.  Approximately 650 grizzly bears live in the Yellowstone region today.  [Governor Matt] Mead argued in his May 24 letter that Yellowstone-area grizzlies are fully recovered and no longer need endangered species protection.

Neighborhood overrun by protected birds that create mess and stench.  Egrets are to blame for the mess, and since they are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act — which means they cannot be disturbed or removed while nesting — they are a big reason people in three houses on the street aren't spending time outdoors.

Endangered salamander listing hurts Texas jobs.  Key Texas Republicans are pushing legislation to block the listing of four salamanders as endangered species in their home state, which they say would stunt economic development and hinder the creation of new jobs.  Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. John Carter authored the Salamander Community Conservation Act in an attempt to get ahead of the federal listing proposal and allow locals to begin their own preservation efforts.

Agency's decision on beetle could affect Keystone XL pipeline.  A federal agency's recent decision involving the endangered American burying beetle could cause up to a year's delay in construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, if the project wins federal approval, an environmental group said Tuesday.  But a spokesman for pipeline developer TransCanada Inc., said that assessment was premature and that the company would be able to work around new rules concerning the beetle.

The Editor says...
The construction of this badly-needed pipeline would probably result in the deaths of several bugs.  But I find it hard to imagine that the pipeline crew would locate and destroy all of the remaining specimens of the burrowing beetle.  That could only happen if all of the beetles live in a straight line, right under the path of the pipeline.  Even if all the burrowing beetles are sure to be wiped out — and that won't happen — the pipeline should be built, because gasoline is more important to our economy and our lives than beetles.

Idaho County Challenges Endangered Status of Caribou.  Bonner County, Idaho is suing the federal government to remove woodland caribou from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  County officials point out there are millions of woodland caribou, mostly in Canada, and the fact that only a small number live in the extreme northern United States does not justify onerous ESA protections.

Why the Scimitar Oryx is extinct in the wild but alive and well in Texas.  Dr. Grey Stafford, Director of Conservation at the World Wildlife Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona, e-mailed me that he is upset because "lawyers and extremists" use government to change the way he runs his zoo.  He says that bad training and conservation methods are "imposed on us by some outside party whose agenda is not in the best interest of conservation, animals or zoos."  I'm not surprised.  Liberal activists always think central planners make life better.

Killing jobs to save the sage grouse.  At a recent three-day hearing before an Idaho federal district court on whether the court should restrict oil, gas and ranching activities over a vast area of federal land in western Wyoming, an expert summoned by the environmental group that had filed the lawsuit testified, "The greater sage grouse is one stochastic, catastrophic event away from extirpation in Sublette County."  That the moment passed without the judge, lawyers and spectators convulsing into laughter indicates just how absurd what passes for scientific debate about the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has become.  After all, everything on the planet is "one ... catastrophic event" away from annihilation. [...] Moreover, as the Sublette County lawsuit shows, the wildlife service and environmental groups label a species "imperiled" in one location despite its vitality elsewhere.  The sage grouse, for example, is a game bird in Wyoming and Montana.

Environmentalists Oppose Wind Power Line in Idaho, Wyoming.  Idaho and Wyoming residents and environmental groups are expressing opposition to a proposed 1,100-mile long high-voltage power line designed to transmit 3,000 megawatts of mostly wind-generated electricity to fast-growing areas in the West. [...] Among the many issues that have been raised by residents and environmental groups are concerns about the power line's effect on the habitat of the imperiled sage grouse.

With his prospects in the November election now fading...
Obama administration cancels endangered species listing for lizard.  The Obama administration will not list the dune sagebrush lizard as an endangered species having reached an agreement with oil and gas developers and other stakeholders to protect 650,000 acres of land as habitat for the creature in Texas and New Mexico.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the unprecedented agreement commits local governments and industry to help ensure the species' continued existence by reducing human impact on 88 percent of the lizard's range.

Feds say West Texas lizard does not merit protected status.  The dunes sagebrush lizard of the West Texas oil patch will not receive special protections as an endangered species, the Obama administration announced Wednesday [6/13/2012].  The administration's surprising turn came two years after federal officials proposed the strongest level of protection under the Endangered Species Act for the rare sand-dwelling reptile, which has lost critical habitat to energy development and livestock grazing in West Texas and New Mexico.

Environmental objections in path of bullet train.  The California bullet train is promoted as an important environmental investment for the future, but over the next decade the heavy construction project would potentially harm air quality, aquatic life and endangered species across the Central Valley.  Eleven endangered species, including the San Joaquin kit fox, would be affected, according to federal biologists.  Massive emissions from diesel-powered heavy equipment could foul the already filthy air.  Dozens of rivers, canals and wetlands fed from the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada would be crossed, creating other knotty issues.

Spotted owl could be game-changer in Tombstone water war.  The owl is a threatened species, and until a few days ago its presence in fire-scorched Miller Canyon was a matter of speculation.  But now that it has surfaced, the owl could be a game-changer in the water war between the U.S. Forest Service and the Wild West city made famous by the 30-second gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

FWS Sued for Not Delisting Recovered Beetle.  A group of California property owners and a public policy organization have filed a lawsuit to force the federal government to remove a beetle from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species list.  Six years ago, FWS determined the valley elderberry longhorn beetle had recovered from its "threatened" status.  Nevertheless, the agency has yet to officially change the beetle's status, so the land-use restrictions and other limitations on property rights remain.

Green is Taking Us for a Ride.  The spotted owl dispute has shut down a substantial part of federal timber harvest and threatens logging on private lands.  Nearly 100,000 jobs have been lost.  After twenty years, the spotted owls should be multiplied to the point of being a pest.  Instead they've continued to decline.

Liberal Illiberalism.  When "conservation" sometime in the 1970s was redefined as "environmentalism," the morality of the entire issue likewise changed.  Most Americans had wanted clean air and water; and they were willing to pay to curb pollutants and drive more expensive, but cleaner, cars.  They had no desire to see condors die off or kit foxes disappear.  But at some point, the green creed began to dictate that all species were equal to humans.

Obama administration plan would kill rival bird to save spotted owl.  To save the imperiled spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside.

Where are the animal rights people now?
Wyoming tribe gets OK to kill 2 bald eagles for ceremonies.  In a rare and potentially landmark decision, a Wyoming Indian tribe has received federal approval to kill two bald eagles for religious ceremonies, the Associated Press reports.  The Northern Arapaho Tribe had sued the government last year, arguing its members' religious freedom was being violated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refusal to issue a "take" permit.  Federal law prohibits killing a bald eagle, the national bird.  Eagle feathers and body parts are kept in a federal repository for tribal religious ceremonies.

Trying to 'Stop the Bleeding' from Environmental Overreach.  Central California Republicans — and farmers across the state — won a small victory last night in a House committee in a battle that has seen scores of communities devastated by environmental regulatory overreach.  The Delta smelt is a tiny fish that lives is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley River Delta.  In response to the fish's threatened status, influenced by its sensitivity to environmental conditions and the large-scale pumping operations necessary to send water south, a 2007 court order citing the Endangered Species Act severely cut back water deliveries through the agricultural Central Valley.

SoCal Water Agencies Sue Feds over Sucker Fish.  Twelve Southern California water agencies are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for expanding critical habitat areas for the Santa Ana sucker fish.  The water agencies say there is a lack of scientific evidence to justify Fish and Wildlife's decision.

Sea Otters Ignore Government's 'No-Otter' Zone.  Long valued for their thick, luxurious fur, sea otters were hunted to near-extinction during the 1800s.  The otters were, in fact, believed to be extinct during the early 1900s, until a colony of approximately 50 was discovered in the 1930s in central California near Monterey Bay.  The sea otter population gradually expanded during the twentieth century, but the otters remain a threatened species on the Endangered Species List.

Dodo of the Year.  Good news:  It is not a felony if a bird happens to land on your property and dies.  At least not yet.  That's the ruling out of North Dakota, where a federal court last week dismissed a complaint by the Obama Justice Department against three oil companies under the Migratory Bird Act.

Government control of trees on private property:
$1.6 million fine for cutting down trees.  A Florida couple was fined $1.6 million for cutting down mangrove trees on their property without proper state and city permits.  Roger and Myrna Byrd of Jupiter removed 109 mangroves, a tree Florida has protected since 1985, in late 2010, The Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday [1/25/2012].

Obama Has No Credibility on Energy.  One of the less known issues that hampers the development of energy in the West is that of endangered species. ... A look at the map of areas being considered for Sage Grouse habitat shows areas in which Sage Grouse have not been seen in over a decade, but is considered as "suitable".  There is also land in northeastern Utah being evaluated as to whether or not it is suitable for the Mexican Wolf.  Mexican Wolf?  I didn't even know they had wolves in Mexico, let alone that they are capable of migrating almost to Wyoming. ... With 300 species about to be added to the Endangered List in the United States, and the potential for any given stretch of land to be listed as suitable for them, and thus off-limits to energy companies, there is practically no end to the roadblocks that could be used to thwart development.

The Editor says...
Obviously the ESA is "used to thwart development."  Development means capitalism, and environmentalism is vigorously opposed to capitalism.  The animals are mere pawns:  They are used for emotional appeal in the superficial news media.  The actual endangerment of the 300 additional species is quesionable, since many of these animals are indistinguishable from their cousins.  And even if the Wyoming Mexican Wolf is wiped out, people are more important than animals.  For centuries, civilized countries have marvelled at the veneration of (sacred) cows in India, but in the United States, in the last 50 years, we have begun to place an exaggerated value on every toad and bug and scavenger in the wild west.

Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) Wind Issue.  While many system operators have been forced to draw upon fossil fuel back-up units when power is most needed because wind was not available, BPA has had to deal with too much wind power conflicting with its hydroelectric generation of renewable electricity.  To balance supply and demand, BPA displaced nearly 100,000 megawatt hours of wind energy between May 18 and July 10 of this year [2011] (over 5 percent of the amount produced by wind power connected to its grid) in favor of hydroelectric power in order to protect the salmon in the Columbia River.  While BPA could have reduced the power output of its hydroelectric dams by routing excess water through a spillway, it chose not to because BPA believed it would have violated the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.  Water passing over a spillway picks up nitrogen gas, which is harmful to salmon.

More information (none of it favorable) about wind energy.

National Park Service has new land-grabbing tool.  Big Green has an unlikely new sales pitch to convince Congress to fund ever-expanding land grabs by the National Park Service — save wildlife migration.  A map overlay showing all the U.S. wildlife migration paths would blot out nearly half the nation — a very clever diagram for empire-building bureaucrats.  The obscure but well-heeled Wildlife Conservation Society (2010 assets $764 million) unveiled the idea last week in "Spectacular Migrations in the Western U.S.," a 45-page report on the purportedly urgent need for a widespread network of wildlife migration corridors to avert countless extinctions.

Big Green's endangered species money machine.  Karen Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation rancher in Wyoming.  She's also a strong-minded lawyer who tracks millions in legal fees paid to Big Green environmental groups by federal agencies in lawsuits to save endangered species — and she makes the records public.  They show that the Endangered Species Act has been hijacked by those same Big Green groups that use it in the courts as an ideological weapon against development — and to enrich themselves.  Stories of such things as wind farm projects thwarted by a field mouse are no longer uncommon, but investigations of how environmental lawyers turn the ESA into a private money machine are almost nonexistent.  Budd-Falen has pioneered that niche with high-detail profiles.

Do Lighting Standard Delays Threaten Consumer Choice?  When considered carefully, the lighting efficiency standard contains a paradox:  It has had the effect of multiplying consumer choice, but by means of a mechanism that will actually limit choice, once it is fully implemented.  Nor is this just a US concern.  One reason we're seeing so many new lighting technologies on store shelves is that incandescent lights are being phased out in much of the developed world.  As shown in Exhibit 17 of a recent report by McKinsey & Company, the phaseout of incandescent lighting is even farther along in the EU and Japan, with Russia and Brazil also winding down sales of these lights.

Environmentalists Block Fire Retardant use to Protect Wildlife.  Nearly 47 million acres of American forests are now off-limits to slurry drops to fight fires because of a successful lawsuit by environmentalists who say the retardant kills fish and endangered species.  The Forest Service decision that was due before Dec. 31 says the new directions for the use of the fire retardant will help them protect water sources as well as plant and wildlife.

Not every "extinct" species really is extinct.
Bumblebee boffins rediscover long-vanished species.  Scientists have rediscovered an extremely rare species of bumblebee in the US, which hasn't been seen since 1956.  The find has prompted a lot of excitement due to the concern about bee species disappearing around the world.

Another example:
'Extinct' Galapagos Tortoise Turns Up on Distant Island.  A type of giant tortoise, observed in the Galapagos Islands in 1853 by Charles Darwin but thought to have been extinct for 150 years, is apparently alive and well.  This news, from a team of biologists at Yale University, would be welcomed by conservationists, and it adds an ironic twist to Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Inconvenient Truth about Species Extinction.  "Overall, species loss is now occurring at a rate 1,000 times greater than the natural background rate," says Al Gore in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. ... To illustrate the vacuousness of comparing modern extinction rates to the so-called background extinction rate, we need only to apply Gore's "1,000 times" claim to some hard data, which we can find in a recently published paper in the journal Diversity and Distributions.  The authors of this paper analyzed the "actual historical record of extinctions" and found that a total of 190 birds and land-dwelling mammals have gone extinct since the year 1500.

Texas official applauds dunes sagebrush lizard ruling.  Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said Thursday he is pleased with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delay a ruling of whether the dunes sagebrush lizard should be placed on the endangered species list.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will need more data before determining if the lizard, which resides in the Permian Basin, is endangered.

City might pursue litigation in dunes sagebrush lizard case.  With the final decision on the dunes sagebrush lizard just more than a month away, city of Midland leaders are considering filing a lawsuit if necessary.

Obama Ethics: Safer to Be a Golden-Winged Warbler than a Baby Human.  With his finger firmly on the pulse of what is most concerning to Americans, the president has announced that he will soon be extending endangered species status (and the requisite mountain of rules and regulations that accompany the designation) to a list of over 500 plant and animal species.  And besides being great news for the soon-to-be-protected slow-moving Gopher tortoise, this move will undoubtedly benefit a national economy already stunted by oppressive bureaucratic micromanagement.  One can fairly imagine how much easier life is about to get for the people of Hawaii, for instance, when they receive new federal guides on how to identify the 99 new native plants they must avoid trampling or trimming.

Delta Water Rules Smelt of Extremism.  If you want to understand the fundamental things wrong with our nation and California, in particular, you ought to peruse the 140-page opinion recently issued by Judge Oliver Wanger in the "Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases."  It describes many of the most frustrating elements in our society — abuses of federal authority, bureaucratic micromanagement of our lives and political zealotry masquerading as science.  The case also shows the indifference to the insanity by most Americans, who wouldn't know a Delta smelt from a cod fillet.

Record Number of Sea Turtles Counted in Texas.  A record number of nests of endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles has been counted along the Texas Gulf Coast this year, putting to rest fears that last year's BP Gulf oil spill would further jeopardize the endangered turtles.

Obama Administration Expanding the Reach of ESA.  With a Friday [7/30/2011] deadline to act on more than 700 pending cases, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already has issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward potential new protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Judge questions honesty of Interior Department Scientists.  U.S. District Court judges aren't known for using inflammatory language in deciding the weighty issues that come before them on the federal bench.  So it was remarkable to read the scorching indictment of a federal environmental agency and two of its scientists last week by Judge Oliver W. Wanger.  The case concerns how the government should manage California water supplies and at the same time seek to preserve the delta smelt, an allegedly endangered species of minnow-like fish.

Grizzly shooting pits Idahoans against Uncle Sam.  U.S. prosecutors charge a man who said he was protecting his family.  State residents and officials are outraged.

U.S. may declare an extremely rare manzanita endangered.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes the status for the Franciscan manzanita, only one example of which is believed to be growing in the wild. ... The manzanita, also known as Arctostaphylos franciscana, was believed to be extinct until 2009, when a sharp-eyed botanist saw the lonely plant on a traffic island in the middle of a busy highway, part of a major construction project near the Golden Gate Bridge.

America is Under Attack.  As early as 1946, the left began a strategy to use people's concern for the environment to impose government control over land use.  They tricked people into accepting laws that on the surface appeared designed to protect some aspect of the environment, but always, with vague or ambiguous language, or clauses hidden deep within the legalese and gobbledygook, gave government the power to regulate and control our property, our businesses, and our lives.  Today, we see this manifest in the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the totally misnamed Environmental Protection Agency.

A reptile messes with Texas.  A five-inch reptile has enough power in its tiny claws to hurl thousands of Americans into unemployment lines.  It shows how the greenie Obama administration places a higher value on sand-dune lizards than it does on domestic energy production and jobs.  Federal bureaucrats with the Fish and Wildlife Service want to put this critter, also known as the dunes sagebrush lizard, on the Endangered Species List.

Gov't Paying Farmers, Ranchers $112M to Protect Bird Too Numerous to be Threatened.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying $112 million in tax money to farmers and ranchers in 11 Western states to restore the habitat of the Sage Grouse, a bird that has not been listed as either threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species law because the government says there are too many of them.

Job-Creating Keystone Pipeline Affects Endangered Beetle, Says State Dep't.  In its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs and transport 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Oklahoma and Texas, a State Department official said its investigation found "no significant impact to most resources" along the path of the 1,700-mile project.  But the State Department also said the pipeline could adversely affect the American Burying Beetle, an endangered species.

The Editor says...
When gas is $10 a gallon, nobody will care about the welfare of any stinkin' beetle.

New Flower Species Protections Pit Energy Industry Against Conservationists in Colorado.  The recent placing of three Colorado wildflowers on the federal endangered and threatened species lists will make it harder to exploit untapped fuel resources in the Rocky Mountain State, a group representing the energy industry tells Fox News, an assertion the government denies.

Scientists Expose Inside Job Behind Endangered Species Scam.  History tells us that listing a critter as an endangered species does little for the species and can do a great deal of harm to the local economies — the spotted owl and the delta smelt are two oft-cited cases.  But there is not a big body of evidence showing how these listing decisions were made.  It was just assumed that the species plight warranted protection.  But that was before the listing proposal for the dunes sagebrush lizard threatened a large segment of U.S. domestic oil production and the economies of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

All for the sake of the Delta Smelt.
California's water wars.  California's water wars aren't about scarcity.  Even with 37 million people and the nation's most irrigation-intensive agriculture, the state usually has enough water for both people and crops, thanks to the brilliant hydrological engineering of past Californians.  But now there is a new element in the century-old water calculus:  a demand that the state's inland waters flow as pristinely as they supposedly did before the age of dams, reservoirs and canals.

Welfare of pronghorn still trumps border enforcement.  As I reported back in February, the Interior Department has been using a 1964 environmental law to block the Border Patrol from building communications towers along the southwestern border in Arizona.  The towers are part of a virtual fence that would be used to intercept illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and human traffickers who are increasingly using protected federal wilderness areas to sneak over the border.  Five months later, nothing's changed.

The Greens Just Love Us to Death.  [Scroll down]  Nor have Greens given up on the Endangered Species Act which has not truly saved any species in the course of spending billions to protect, for example, a spotted owl that needed no protection whatever or gray wolves that were doing quite well in Canada and Mexico when not wandering across our borders.  What the ESA did accomplish, however, was to thwart all manner of development, whether it was a new hospital or the irrigation of farms rumored to grow crops people wanted to eat.  The latest proposed use of the ESA is to shut down one of the most productive oil reserves in the U.S. to protect a lizard!

Lizard Controversy in W. Texas, New Mexico Oil Patch.  [Scroll down to page 9]  A three-inch-long, sand-dwelling lizard threatens one of the nation's most prolific oil-producing regions.  The dunes sagebrush lizard may soon be added to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's (FWS) Endangered Species List, a development that is looked upon with horror by many residents of the oil-rich Permian Basin in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.  If the lizard is added to the list, the Endangered Species Act will impose on the 17-county Permian Basin severe land-use restrictions that will curtail oil exploration and drilling.

Chesapeake Crab Population Continues Its Recovery.  [Scroll down to page 7]  Despite a harsh winter this year, the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population continues to make a comeback, government wildlife officials report.  This year's annual winter dredge survey showed the blue crab population at its second-highest level since 1997, well above its target for a third year in a row.  The survey estimated 461 million blue crabs currently in the bay.  That's nearly double figures for 2007, when population outlooks were bleak.

GOP lawmakers take aim at Endangered Species Act.  The Endangered Species Act has long had its foes, particularly in the West.  But in recent months, the law has taken an unprecedented hit from Congress.  Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, successfully used a budget bill signed into law by the president to return to the states of Idaho and Montana the ability to manage their wolf populations.

Little lizard could cause big disruptions for Texas drillers.  Deep in the West Texas sand dunes is something that some say could threaten the state's oil and gas production:  A tiny lizard.  But it's not just any lizard:  It's a dunes sagebrush lizard, also known as the sand dune lizard.

More Enviro-Anomalies.  [The obscure dunes sagebrush] lizard, supposedly dying out, has a habitat that stretches across southeastern New Mexico and west central Texas, smack-dab in the middle of the longest-exploited and most productive oil field in America, the Permian Basin field.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to get this lowly lizard listed as an endangered species, claiming that oil and gas development is ruining the lizard's habitat.  Of course, if the feds declare this banal reptile "endangered," all drilling companies in the affected area will immediately come under the iron fist of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which will demand that they work without "harming" the habitat (viz., sand dunes) of the mundane creature.  Fish and Wildlife will accordingly threaten the drillers with massive fines for disturbing those dunes.  By the way, nobody knows the size of this repellant reptile's population to begin with, which raises the question of how exactly we know that it is endangered.

Salazar's War On Jobs.  The plight of the prairie chickens, smelt fish and dunes sagebrush lizards is not just a policy cause for environmentalists anymore, but the weapon of choice in a war on jobs by the Obama Administration, say critics in Congress.  The policies in effect at the Interior Department, now led by Secretary Ken Salazar, are supposed to protect endangered species against certain annihilation.  But they're also turning farmlands into dust bowls and running oil and gas development off the land, out of the water and out of the country.

Environmentalism vs. Border Control: A Complex Battle of Survival.  Federal agents must abandon their vehicles and chase drug smugglers and illegal aliens on foot through 40 acres near the Mexican border because of a pond that is home to the endangered desert pupfish.  It's part of the agreement between the Homeland Security and Interior departments on how best to protect the ecosystem, frustrating lawmakers who say it also prevents agents from conducting routine patrols.

Targeted by the EPA.  A three-inch lizard scuttled into the spotlight in December after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed moving it onto the Endangered Species List.  The dunes sagebrush lizard's habitat covers just eight counties on the Texas-New Mexico border, right in the heart of the Permian Basin, a major oil-producing region.  Particularly in Texas, industry leaders and local businesses see the action as hostile — another Obama administration environmental policy targeting their successful, energy-sparked economy.

Crazifornia: Delta smelt refuse to die in pumps.  In Tracy, California, where the massive California Water Project pumps stand ready to move up to 15,450 cubic feet of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water southward every single second, it's been a busy spring.  The pumps have been a mere shadow of their old selves ever since U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger began ratcheting them down in 2007 in response to environmentalist lawsuits brought under the auspices of the Delta smelt.

Listing of lizard may shut down Texas oil.  You can't make this up.  First, a Spotted Owl destroyed the timber industry of the Pacific Northwest, then a minnow turned the most productive agricultural land in the world into a dustbowl, and now, as energy prices spike and the economy sputters, they're going after Texas with a scurrilous reptile.  Specifically, the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard.

Will A Lizard Stop West Texas Oil?  After the harm done by the spotted owl and delta smelt, the listing of a tiny reptile as endangered may be the latest salvo in the war on domestic energy.

Meet the sand dune lizard.  He's also known as the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard; this endearing little critter is native to the American Southwest.  Specifically, eastern New Mexico and West Texas. ... You see, the favored habitat of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard also happens to be a favored habitat of the Domestic Production Crude Oil Rig:  the US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to declare the former to be an endangered species, and you know just how this story ends, right?

Endangered tortoises delay Mojave Desert solar plant.  The Obama administration has halted the building of two-thirds of a massive solar project in San Bernardino's Mojave Desert as a new federal assessment found that more than 600 endangered desert tortoises would die as a result of construction.

Runaway Trains of Bureaucracy.  Government programs succeed through failure.  A program that actually "solved" whatever problem prompted its creation would be wiped out.  A bureaucrat who runs a tight ship, and brings his operation in under budget, will be "rewarded" with a smaller budget.  Every single organ of our federal government is working tirelessly to solve a problem that is much worse than originally anticipated, and therefore requires increased funding.  When was the last time you heard of a big federal program that was shut down ahead of schedule and under budget, because it completed its mission?

The Cost Of Green.  The green lobby assured everyone it knew what it was doing when it got a judge to cut water to Central Valley farmers to save the delta smelt.  But while the Valley economy is now ruined, it hasn't helped the smelt.

Beating Big Green at the trial lawyer game.  "Congress intended endangered species to be afforded the highest of priorities."  That 1978 Supreme Court decision in the notorious snail darter case stopped Tennessee's $100 million Tellico Dam.  Thereafter, the Endangered Species Act would trump all else.  The ESA is not about plants and animals despite its name.  It's about habitat — that's land and water, public or private.  Harm habitat in your own backyard and under ESA's Section 11(b) you could get a year in federal prison and a $50,000 fine for each violation.

Save the Fish, Starve the Humans.  Saving a two-inch "endangered" fish has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in California 's Central Valley and turned parts of it, some of the most productive agricultural land in the U.S., into a dust bowl. ... University of California (Davis) Prof. Peter Moyle started the Save the Delta Smelt campaign.  The professor admits that the smelt has no commercial value, that its life cycle is just one year, and that, even in optimal conditions, it's prone to extinction anyway.  Nonetheless, it must be saved at any cost.  That's the mandate of the Endangered Species Act.  Moyle was successful in convincing the EPA to list the Delta Smelt as endangered in 1993.  Several court cases later, the obscene cost of saving a fish the professor says has only been in the Sacramento River delta for 8,000 to 10,000 years is now apparent.

Manatee count reaches record numbers.  Biologists with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission counted 4,840 manatees during their annual survey in January, by far a record for the once-endangered species.  The high count is especially encouraging in view of the record number of manatee deaths resulting from cold weather last year  — a total of 767 were recorded dead statewide.

Obama's war on the private sector continues.  On Dec. 14, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the dunes sagebrush lizard "faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments."  As a result, it proposes that the lizard be listed as "endangered" — under the Endangered Species Act — which starts the clock for a 60-day public comment period.  Hoping no one would notice, the FWS announced the proposal during the throes of the holiday season.  We the public need to take notice.

Can a State Bypass the EPA?  In 2010, the EPA granted exactly two new coal mining permits in West Virginia.  There are fifty outstanding permits, because according to the EPA, bugs are more important than jobs.  Mayfly populations are disrupted when coal companies dig beneath the surface of the earth, which the EPA says affects the amount of food and thus the populations of indigenous fish.  Other research has indicated that as soon as those bugs leave, other ones take their place, and fish populations are unaffected.  As the result of this standoff, coal cannot expand in Appalachia, and some of the highest paying jobs in the state remain unfilled.

Here Comes The Sun.  Government will shut off water to farmers to protect a 3-inch bait fish for ecological reasons.  Yet it has no problem uprooting a threatened species to make room for a trendy green energy project.

A human balance needed for the environment.  Everybody wants clean air and water.  Everybody wants to conserve America's abundant natural resources. ... But who wants to turn one of the world's most fertile farming regions, an area that long fed millions of Americans and provided jobs for countless workers, into an arid wasteland, all on behalf of a small fish?

Manmade famine in America.  It seems inconceivable, but people in America are going hungry en masse due to a famine caused by political authorities.  Fresno, California is not yet a sister city of Kiev, Ukraine, but the two cities, capitals of rich agricultural regions, share a history of mass hunger caused by central governments indifferent to the suffering of their people, in the pursuit of ideological goals.

Back from the dead:  One third of 'extinct' animals turn up again.  Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said.  A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.  Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.

Administration releases climate strategy for plants, wildlife.  The Obama administration Monday [9/27/2010] released a strategy for assessing the effects of climate change on at-risk plants and wildlife.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategy sets out a plan for prioritizing research and its response to climate change, calling for a coordinated effort by federal agencies, states and conservation groups to identify the most vulnerable species.

Spotting of red fox could ignite endangered species battle.  The rarely seen Sierra Nevada red fox could be the next candidate for federal protection, and perhaps political controversy, now that one has been photographed prowling near Sonora Pass, Calif.  California state law currently covers the fox.  The federal Endangered Species Act does not.

Obamnesty First, Security Second?  Every nation has a right to protect its borders, and our commander in chief has a duty to protect ours.  Refusal to do so for political reasons is unconscionable.  Our border states should not remain exposed to the escalating violence of a Mexican drug war that has already claimed the life of one Arizona rancher.  The murderers of Robert Krentz escaped to a protected pronghorn antelope area that the Interior Department of Secretary Ken Salazar had placed off limits to U.S. border patrol agents in order to protect endangered species.

Border Patrol Charged Millions for Habitat Damage, Republicans Say Enough 'Extortion'.  Republican lawmakers are calling on the Interior Department to stop charging what they describe as "extortion" money from the Border Patrol — millions of under-the-radar dollars meant to cover environmental damage stemming from their everyday duties along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Buying Votes With Water:  The water spigots are back on, at least temporarily, in California's Central Valley.  Turned off to protect a tiny fish, they happen to be in the districts of two congressmen "undecided" on health care reform.

Water for Votes and Other Atrocities.  Obama has now joined the likes of all other despots who have ever walked and practiced their tyrannies upon planet Earth. ... Obama turned off the spigots in California's Central Valley in order to destroy crops, fruit trees, farmers' livelihoods etc.  in that once extremely fertile and productive area and to give him a large hammer to use against all of us who eat food and drink water.  Obama affected this by design and on purpose first and foremost to observe whether or not he could get away with it...

On Earth Day, Did You Thank a Hunter?  Ten cents of every dollar I spent on my hunting and fishing toys funds Federal and State "conservation" programs.  From my guns and ammo to my duck calls and decoys, from my rods and reels to my lures and gaffs, from my trolling motor to the very fuel for my outboard — ten cents of every dollar in this ghastly expenditure funds habitat for Spotted Owls, Red Cockaded Woodpeckers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Manatees, Snail darters, Black-Footed Ferrets, California Condors, Florida Panthers and Sea Otters.

48 Hawaiian Species Listed As Endangered, Putting 40 Square Miles of Kauai Off-Limits.  Wildlife officials lauded Washington's "holistic approach" to conservation in Hawaii after the Obama administration declared 48 species as endangered and announced plans to set aside more than 40 square miles on Kauai as critical habitat to allow the plants and animals to flourish.

Energy Industry Relieved Sage Grouse Won't Be Listed As Endangered.  An Interior Department announcement Friday [3/5/2010] that it won't list sage grouse as an endangered or threatened species opens the way for continued development of the West's wind energy and oil and gas industries.

Westerners grouse over more proposed land restrictions.  Congressional Western Caucus members are squawking about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's proposal to further restrict public use of federal lands by listing the Greater Sage Grouse as an endangered species.

Arizona Spends $1.25M to Save 250 Squirrels.  Arizona is spending $1.25 million to build bridges for endangered squirrels over a mountain road so they don't become roadkill and then monitor their health.  The money is being spent, officials said, because cars kill about five of these squirrels each year.

The next day...
Arizona Cancels $1.25M Bridge for 250 Squirrels.  Arizona abruptly canceled plans today [6/18/2010] to spend $1.25 million to build bridges for a colony of 250 squirrels so they would not have to cross a rural road and could avoid becoming road kill.  John Halikowski, director of Arizona's Department of Transportation, halted the bridge project that was being paid for with federal highway funds.  "ADOT will not spend funds simply because they are available," he said in a statement.

In Pursuit of Death.  Over the last two decades, activists in the news media and popular culture have managed to mainstream radical environmentalism, leading to a "green veto" over the use of natural resources, as well as land and development policy for the nation.  Major projects are routinely halted over dubious claims of damage to habitats or endangered species.  The costs of EPA-mandated impact studies alone are daunting enough to nix needed projects before they begin.  Environmentalism is no longer just a collection of disaffected youth, misguided conservationists, and touchy-feely, back-to-nature types; this once-harmless eccentricity has unveiled a dark side.

Grape Growing Collides With Fish Protection in California.  Grape growers in Northern California's cool, fertile Sonoma County wine region are stomping mad at a new plan to limit the amount of water vineyards can pump from local rivers and streams to protect crops from frost — a proposed regulation meant to safeguard coho salmon, a species on the brink of local extinction.

Green Termites.  Under the surface and out of the spotlight, green termites are busily chewing away at the foundations of our capitalist economy.  Environmental activists have flooded the system with mass petitions for endangered species listing ... In June 2007, a petition was filed with Fish and Wildlife's New Mexico office to review 475 species, and in July 2007, a separate petition was filed with the Denver office to review 206 species.  The petition for each species must be researched and reviewed, requiring enormous amounts of time and resources for mass applications.

Where Are The Corpses?  The record of continental (as opposed to island) bird and mammal extinctions in the last five centuries was analyzed to determine if the "species-area" relationship actually works to predict extinctions.  Very few continental birds or mammals are recorded as having gone extinct, and none have gone extinct from habitat reduction alone.  No continental forest bird or mammal is recorded as having gone extinct from any cause.

U.S. flooded with endangered species requests.  When WildEarth Guardians filed two petitions in the space of a month to list 681 species under the Endangered Species Act, it came as a shock to biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Organizations normally seek protection for just one animal or plant at a time.  The Center for Native Ecosystems, another group active in petitioning under the Endangered Species Act, has filed requests involving 27 species over the last 10 years.

Human needs should come first in environmental policy.  Ever hear of the Yellowstone Sand Verbena? ... Or how about the Meltwater Lednian Stonefly, which is only found in Glacier National Park in Montana?  That one will be gone by 2030, thanks to global warming, assuming global warming is a reality, as claimed by some scientists.  Or it may be frozen by the new little ice age predicted by other scientists.  These are two of 29 species — including 20 plants, six snails, two insects and a fish — the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says may require federal actions to avoid extinction under the Endangered Species Act.

Congress killing us softly with laws and red tape.  For the past 20 years, I have advised landowners, homebuilders and energy companies on the intricacies of the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.  Both are complex statutes supplemented by dense volumes of regulations and administered by confusing agencies that have state and local counterparts applying state and local versions of the similar laws and rules.  The costs of these regulatory regimes are enormous, but dimly, if at all, understood by the public.  The highest-sounding rhetoric surrounds both laws, but, even as they accomplish important environmental goals, they also operate to batter tens of thousands of Americans every year.

What Is A Species?  The U.S. red wolf known as Canis rufus has been the subject of an enormous project to save it from extinction.  Meanwhile, Canadian scientists argue that Canis rufus is just an isolated southern population of Canis lycaon, a Canadian wolf that is not endangered.

Playing God with "Endangered" Species.  Let's get to the nitty-gritty of the Endangered Species Act.  Originally adopted in 1973, the framers of the Act wanted to protect species believed to be on the brink of extinction.  This is a noble idea, but 99% of all species that have existed on Earth are extinct.  At some point or other, Nature steps in to kill them off.  This is why there are no dinosaurs around except in Steven Speilberg movies and animated documentaries.  Despite ample evidence that the Act is a great waste of time and money, Congress has been funding the ESA ever since the first 109 species were listed.

Habitat and Humanity.  If there is a Don Quixote of federal laws, it is the Endangered Species Act (ESA):  For over three decades this law's regulations have endangered the species in distress that they are endeavoring to protect.

The Endangered Species Act.  Once on the list, it is nearly impossible for a species to be taken off.  Very few species (only 31) have ever made it off the list.  For example, although the bald eagle has been flourishing in recent years (three have been spotted in the Washington, D.C. area alone), the Department of the Interior (DOI) has not taken the eagle off the list because environmental groups have lobbied to keep the bird on the list.  DOI succumbs to such pleas, even when species is no longer endangered.  The 1,232 species on the list have more rights than property owners.

Warm Thoughts on Cold Weather.  Animal adaptations to cold are nothing short of amazing. Take, for example, certain species of frogs that spend the winter frozen.  These are not frogs that are chilled, but truly frozen.  Pick them up, and they are hard and cold.  Ice crystals form between their cells and throughout their body cavities.  They appear to be dead, but they are known to hop away after overwintering with body temperatures below 18 degrees.

California's Man-Made Drought.  California has a new endangered species on its hands in the San Joaquin Valley -- farmers.  Thanks to environmental regulations designed to protect the likes of the three-inch long delta smelt, one of America's premier agricultural regions is suffering in a drought made worse by federal regulations.

Obama's Failure to Help May Spring from Racism.  Why are the communities of Fresno County suffering so deeply?  Because in December 2008, the federal government decided that Fresno County, a farming-rich area which provides half of America's vegetables, no longer needed water.  The farmers whose ancestors built the canals to irrigate the Central Valley have been totally cut off from their water supply, even though they're still paying bills for it.  Hundreds of acres of prime farming land lie fallow, crops withered and dead.  All because the federal government thinks that smelt — tiny 5- to 7-centimeter fish — are more important than human beings.

It's farmers vs. fish for California water.  Supporters of California agriculture called on the Obama administration and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to lift water restrictions that were imposed to protect the endangered delta smelt, saying the fish is putting farmers out of business.

Manmade famine in America.  It seems inconceivable, but people in America are going hungry en masse due to a famine caused by political authorities.  Fresno, California is not yet a sister city of Kiev, Ukraine, but the two cities, capitals of rich agricultural regions, share a history of mass hunger caused by central governments indifferent to the suffering of their people, in the pursuit of ideological goals.

Fresno, Zimbabwe.  Fresno, California, stands as the de facto capital of California's mighty Central Valley, the breadbasket of America. ... Yet far from being a paradise, Fresno is starting to resemble Zimbabwe or 1930s Ukraine, a victim of a famine machine that is entirely man-made, not by red communists this time, but by greens.  State and federal officials, driven by the agenda of environmental extremists, have made it extremely difficult for the valley's farms, introducing costly environmental regulations and cutting off critical water supplies to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish.  It's all driving the economy to collapse.

Did someone mention Zimbabwe?

Rewrite of Endangered Species Law Approved.  Setting the stage for the most sweeping restructuring of endangered species protections in three decades, the House Resources Committee yesterday approved legislation that would strengthen the hand of private property owners and make it harder for federal officials to set aside large swaths of habitat for imperiled plants and animals.

The Endangered Species Act is Out of Control.  Is a salmon born in a hatchery a different species from the same salmon born in the wild?  It is hard to believe, but recent Federal court rulings are claiming that otherwise genetically identical fish are separate species, forcing an appeal being announced recently to the 9th Circuit Court.  Two court decisions in the last two months show how much is at stake in these questions.

Gov't says brown pelicans are endangered no longer.  After nearly 40 years of struggling for survival, the brown pelican is coming off the endangered species list.

Nature, Not Man, is Responsible for West Coast Salmon Decline.  Seattle now has the dubious distinction of being the first large city to come under the strict regulatory scrutiny of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Listing these salmon as endangered is certain to inflict significant harm on the region's economy, causing billions of dollars in losses for a broad range of industries including those involved with timber, housing, recreation and agriculture, among others.  Additionally, the listings will force federal, state and local governments to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a multitude of salmon-restoration programs that will require increases in taxes for such basic services as water and sewer.

Record Numbers of Salmon, Steelhead Pour into Columbia River.  Salmon and steelhead migrated into the Columbia River in record numbers this year, in some cases more than doubling previous records.  On August 13 a new single-day steelhead record was set for the third day in a row at the Bonneville Dam on the Lower Columbia River.

Center for Biological Diversity Declares Legal War on Global Warming U.S. Economy.  The CBD, the folks who successfully petitioned and sued the Fish & Wildlife Service to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), announced last week the opening of a new Climate Law Institute (CLI) that will "use existing laws and work to establish new state and federal laws that will eliminate energy generation by the burning of fossil fuels — particularly coal and oil shale."  CBD says it has dedicated an "initial $17 million" to the project.

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether ESA Listing Exceeds Federal Power.  The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government authority to regulate Alabama sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act.  A lawsuit contending the federal government overstepped its bounds in seeking to regulate Alabama sturgeon was filed by attorneys with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), an organization that litigates on behalf of property owners against government overreach.

Fed rule halts red snapper fishing.  Come Jan. 4, better throw back that red snapper, at least in federal waters.  Having one onboard will be illegal.  Federal regulators announced an interim rule Thursday [12/3/2009] that bans commercial and recreational fishing for red snapper in federal waters off Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia on the Atlantic coast.

Environmentalists sue to protect California delta fish.  Environmentalists want to reverse a 2003 decision by the Bush administration that eliminated federal protection for a small California fish.  A complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ignored findings that the Sacramento splittail population was declining.

GOP hits Pelosi for mouse funds.  The tiny mouse that became a hotly disputed symbol of wasteful spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill has returned to pester House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The Obama administration revealed last week that as much as $16.1 million from the stimulus program is going to save the San Francisco Bay Area habitat of, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

Judge overturns Bush administration change to rule protecting spotted owl habitat.  A federal judge has struck down the Bush administration's change to a rule designed to protect the northern spotted owl from logging in national forests.  U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled from Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday [6/30/2009] that the U.S. Forest Service failed to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of changing the rule to make it easier to cut down forest habitat of species such as the spotted owl and salmon on 193 million acres of national forests.

The Coming of the Fourth American Republic.  The appropriations committees and their pork barrels are the most obvious example of rule by special interest, but not always the most important.  Whole departments are dedicated to special interests — Labor, Education, Energy.  Money is important, but regulation is every bit as useful, especially because regulations can shift property rights from third parties without going through the budget process.  For example, environmentalists successfully combined a vaguely worded Endangered Species Act with control of the Fish and Wildlife Service to shift the costs of their no-development ethic onto random land-owners, regardless of costs, benefits, or fairness.

Blue whales returning to former Alaska waters.  Blue whales are returning to Alaska in search of food and could be re-establishing an old migration route several decades after they were nearly wiped out by commercial whalers, scientists say.  The endangered whales, possibly the largest animals ever to live on Earth, have yet to recover from the worldwide slaughter that eliminated 99 percent of their number, according to the American Cetacean Society.  The hunting peaked in 1931 with more than 29,000 animals killed in one season.

Pelosi's Quandary:  Jobs or Cross-eyed Mosquitoes?  Until now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been adamant in insisting that funds from a $25B package intended for making automobiles more environmentally friendly NOT be used to help bail out the auto industry.  With her crazy liberal perspective, Pelosi has consistently favored the needs of insects and polar bears over hard-working Americans who need jobs.

Court rejects lawsuit over polar bears.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled against an environmental group that had sued the federal government for allowing oil industry activities to occur in areas that polar bears also use.  The bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Did someone mention polar bears?

Camera convicted him but raised battle over privacy.  Farmers beware:  Big Brother may be watching.  Eastern Shore soybean farmer Steve VanKesteren learned that the hard way when he was charged with taking two red-tailed hawks, a violation of the federal Migratory Bird Act.  The evidence against him was a video recording showing him dispatching the birds with an ax.  Game wardens had put a hidden camera in a tree, pointed at VanKesteren's soybean fields, after receiving a complaint about protected birds getting caught in predator traps.

The Editor asks...
Where are all those people who were so upset about domestic surveillance a few years ago?

Gray wolves to lose endangered status.  The Bush administration will remove wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Idaho and Montana from the endangered species list.  Environmentalists hope Obama will reverse the action, or they'll sue.

Bush revises protections for endangered species.  Just six weeks before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, the Bush administration issued revised endangered species regulations Thursday to reduce the input of federal scientists and to block the law from being used to fight global warming.  The changes, which will go into effect in about 30 days, were completed in just four months.  But they could take Obama much longer to reverse.

Obama overturns Bush endangered species rule.  President Obama on Tuesday overturned a last-minute Bush administration regulation that many environmentalists claim weakened the Endangered Species Act.  The regulation, issued a few weeks before George W. Bush left office, made it easier for federal agencies to skip consultations with government scientists before launching projects that could affect endangered wildlife.

Obama reverses Bush change to Endangered Species Act.  Reversing a last-minute Bush administration rule change, President Barack Obama said Tuesday [3/3/2009] that he'd require federal agencies to consult with government wildlife experts about whether new government projects such as highways or dams would harm endangered or threatened species.

Dems' Climate Change Power Grab Hidden in Spending Bill.  Using a massive $410 billion spending bill as a cloak, Democrat leaders in Congress have been caught attempting to create almost limitless new federal powers to regulate climate change without any public notice, public comment, or public debate.  The provision slipped into this bill would allow the Department of Interior to regulate all greenhouse gas emissions across the entire country based on the listing of the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Researchers Fear Southern Fence Will Endanger Species Further.  The debate over the fence the United States is building along its southern border has focused largely on the project's costs, feasibility and how well it will curb illegal immigration.  But one of its most lasting impacts may well be on the animals and vegetation that make this politically fraught landscape their home.

Environmental laws put gaps in Mexico border security.  In the battle on the U.S.-Mexico border, the fight against illegal immigration often loses out to environmental laws that have blocked construction of parts of the "virtual fence" and that threaten to create places where agents can't easily track illegal immigrants.

'Survival of the fittest' is thwarted again...
Feds:  Kill sea lions to protect salmon.  A federal agency recommended killing about 30 sea lions a year at a Columbia River dam where the marine animals feast on salmon migrating upriver to spawn.  By many estimates, the sea lions devour about 4 percent of spring runs.  Fishermen and Columbia River tribes have urged action for years against the sea lions at Bonneville Dam.

Sea lions' death warrant?  Federal officials have called for killing about 30 sea lions near Bonneville Dam each year to keep them from gobbling a rising share of Northwest salmon that the government spends millions of dollars to protect. … The strategy would authorize state officials to shoot or trap and then kill as many as 85 California sea lions each year, or as many as necessary so they eat no more than 1 percent of salmon passing through Bonneville Dam.

And again...
Kill all wild horses in Australian national park:  environmentalists.  Environmentalists called Wednesday [1/16/2008] for hundreds of wild horses to be shot dead to prevent a unique Australian national park becoming a "horse paddock," with little room for native species.

Group will sue to list walrus as threatened.  A conservation group gave notice Tuesday [5/27/2008] that it will sue to force federal action on a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species because of threats from global warming and offshore petroleum development.

Groups seek drilling halt near sage grouse habitat.  Two conservation groups have asked the federal government to impose new restrictions on oil and gas development in the West to protect the greater sage grouse, a popular game bird on the decline.  Scientists contend sage grouse breeding areas are suffering in the face of accelerating oil and gas exploration in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah and other Western states.  West Nile virus, drought and residential development also have taken a toll on the bird, which is being considered for the endangered species list.

The Editor points out the obvious...
Here's another possibility to consider:  Perhaps the "popular game bird" is on the decline because people are shooting them, which has nothing to do with the presence of oil wells.

What's Wrong with the Endangered Species Act and How to Fix It.  The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, was designed to recover species to a level at which they are no longer considered endangered and therefore do not require the Act's protection.  Unfortunately, the law has had the opposite effect on many species.  The ESA can severely penalize landowners for harboring species on their property, and as a result many landowners have rid their property of the species and habitat rather than suffer the consequences.

Who Pays for the Delhi Sands Fly?  How successful have the Feds been at recovering species?  Not very.  Since 1973, only 40 species have been removed from the endangered and threatened species list and only 15 of those have been de-listed because their populations had recovered.  The other de-listed species either went extinct (nine species) or shouldn't have been listed in the first place (16 species).  Only about one percent of listed species have been declared no longer in endangered or threatened by extinction.  Despite this sorry performance, the activist group Endangered Species Coalition hails the ESA as "one of our nation's strongest environmental laws."

Endangered Species Act Needs Dose of Sanity.  If there is a Don Quixote of federal laws, it is the Endangered Species Act (ESA):  For over three decades this law's regulations have endangered the species in distress that they are endeavoring to protect.  The House last Thursday took the first step toward injecting a dose of sanity into species recovery efforts by passing the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA), a bill that fixes the perverse incentives in the original legislation that pit property owners against wildlife.

How to Fix the Endangered Species Act:  On average, humans are natural-born animal-lovers, and we quite naturally want to do what we can to protect them and their habitat.  Alas, the Endangered Species Act has never been an effective way to do that.  Using the ESA, the federal government tried to protect endangered species in its usual "command and control" manner, punishing people who discovered their land harbored a rare and vulnerable animal by imposing restrictions on how the land could be used.  Under the ESA, most folks are better off looking the other way — or worse, finding ways to make the endangered species leave or "disappear."

Three Things to Know About the Endangered Species Act:  (#2) The Endangered Species Act punishes landowners for good environmental stewardship.  Private property owners who care for their land, and maintain habitat for endangered species, find themselves subject to severe land use restrictions.  This creates a perverse incentive for landowners to rid their property of species and habitat in an effort to avoid land use restrictions and potentially devastating losses in property value that accompany them.

Endangered Species Day Highlights Need For Reform.  Early last month, Congress passed a resolution designating [May 11 as] Endangered Species Day.  National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett suggests the day would be a perfect time to end the perverse incentives that pit property owners against wildlife.

The Endangered Species Act is a Broken Law.  Just last week, the Endangered Species Act was declared "broken" by the senior Bush Administration official in charge of overseeing the law's enforcement.  This assessment comes as no surprise to anyone knowledgeable of how the ESA is implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The fact is that "ESA policy" is often based on politically motivated pressure from eco-activists in the environmental community and within the agency itself.

Loons and Bears Versus Eskimos and Oil:  "A petition seeking Endangered Species Act protection for a rare loon that breeds in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve has been accepted for review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," noted a May 29, 2007 Associated Press article.  "Conservationists hope an eventual listing of the yellow-billed loon will curb petroleum development in the 23-million acre reserve that covers much of Alaska's North Slope."  So, at a time when a $100 barrel of oil makes economies around the world quiver, the "conservationists" are more interested in a yellow-billed loon than in your ability to drive to work, pick up the kids at school, or just go anywhere in your car.

Did someone mention the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Government run amok:  [Scroll down] I realized this a few years ago when I came across a story concerning Taiwanese immigrant Taung Ming-Lin, a farmer in Kern County, Calif., who was arrested for allegedly running over an "endangered" kangaroo rat while tilling his own land.  His tractor was seized and held for over four months, and he faced a year in jail and a $200,000 fine. ... As time has passed, it is now clear that what happened to the farmer in Kern County was not an anomaly, but part of a developing pattern of government invasion of private rights.

Conservation group seeks protections for Alaska ribbon seals in effort to protect environment.  Frustrated by a lack of regulations limiting global warming, a conservation group wants ribbon seals listed as threatened or endangered because their habitat — sea ice — is disappearing amid climate change.  The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday filed a 91-page petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service seeking to list ribbon seals as threatened or endangered.

Federal Judge Sides With Desert Tortoise.  A federal judge in San Francisco is refusing to allow cattle grazing and off-road vehicle use on 4-million acres of California desert, which is set aside as "critical habitat" for the desert tortoise.  It is not enough to consider the survival of the desert tortoise, the judge said in her ruling.  She said the Fish and Wildlife Service must also consider "recovery" of the species — boosting the population, in other words, to the point where it can be removed from the endangered species list.

 Editor's Note:   That will probably never happen.  Read the next article.

More Specious Species Claims.  Well over 1,000 species have been declared threatened or endangered since the ESA was enacted in 1973.  Since then, only 27 species have been removed from the list — 27 out of over 1,000.  Yet of the 27, seven were delisted because they went extinct.  The Interior Department acknowledges that an additional nine were "data errors" and never should have been listed in the first place.  The remaining eleven are officially listed as recoveries, yet the ESA cannot be credited with saving a single one.  Those species either never deserved to be listed as endangered, or recovered due to factors beyond the ESA's control.  Thus, in [its first] 25 years, the ESA failed to recover a single species.

Commonly Asked Questions About the Endangered Species Act:  Simply stated, the Endangered Species Act is the most powerful environmental law ever enacted.

The Polar Bear is used for emotional leverage

As I have noted on
another page, many people take sides on political issues based on the emotional rhetoric in TV sound bites or catchy bumper stickers, without taking the time to do a little research and discover the cold hard facts.  The notion that "global warming" is melting polar ice, and that polar bears are thereby endangered, is a work of fiction that is now being used to restrict business and industry in all 50 states.

The Polar Bear And The ESA:  Backdooring Global Warming Regulations.  The federal Endangered Species Act has long been known as extremely burdensome to practioners and the landowners they represent.  If the polar bear is listed, a new set of industries will feel those burdens directly.

The Bear Facts:  The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just put the polar bear on the endangered species list because it is supposedly "facing extinction" — mainly, it claims, as a result of global warming.  But statistics show the polar bear is not facing extinction, not by a long shot.

Senate Keeps Focus on Polar Bear.  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the Department of Interior has been "foot-dragging" on listing the polar bear as an endangered species and has asked the department's secretary to appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

There's no need to 'save' the polar bear.  Environmental groups are pushing to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and the Bush administration is considering their demands.  It might make sense — if the polar bear were endangered.  But the worldwide population of these bears has more than doubled since 1965, to an estimated 20,000-25,000 today.  Far from being threatened, by all accounts the bears are thriving.  So what's behind the push to "save" the bears?  A desire to ban energy exploration in much of Alaska, and a threatened species tag is just the ticket to make it happen.

How the Endangered Species Act Could Accomplish What Al Gore Couldn't:  As I noted a fortnight ago, the listing of the bear is just the first step in an elaborate dance that will result in the imposition of extraordinarily expensive and delay-inducing permitting requirements on any industrial or commercial activity that (1) requires a federal permit of any sort and (2) emits greenhouse gases.

ESA Listing for Polar Bears Unsupported by Sound Science.  "The leftist Center for Biological Diversity conceived abuse of the Endangered Species Act for creating in the public mind a false crisis over polar bears that will force radical social changes it has been unable to obtain through the democratic process. … The intended outcome is the crippling of the U.S. economy through fossil fuel starvation, increased dependence on insecure energy sources, and a green path to serfdom…."

US government sued over failure to protect polar bears.  The US government agency responsible for compiling the country's list of endangered species will face a new legal challenge today over its failure to protect the polar bear.  Environmental groups are set to sue the Bush administration in a federal court in California, claiming the Fish and Wildlife Service is now in breach of its own mandate.

Judge says U.S. must decide whether polar bears are endangered species.  A federal judge in Oakland has ordered the Interior Department to decide by May 15 if the polar bear should be protected as an endangered species because of melting sea ice due to global warming.  U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken decided, in a ruling released today, that government failed to meet the deadline of Jan. 9, a legal requirement under the Endangered Species Act.  She dismissed the Bush administration's plea to give it until June 30, saying officials offered "no specific facts that would justify the existing delay, much less further delay."

The Editor says...
Notice that all it takes is one federal judge to override our elected officials.  That's dangerous.  And really, the polar bears must be dropping like flies if a decision has to be made in a couple of weeks.  Obviously, the judge has bought into Al Gore's "planetary emergency" canard.

Officials say polar bears to be protected species.  The Interior Department has decided to protect the polar bear as a threatened species because of the decline in Arctic sea ice from global warming, officials said Wednesday [5/14/2008].  Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne scheduled a news conference to announce the action.  It comes a day before a court-imposed deadline on deciding whether the bear should be put under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act.

Unbearable Legislation.  The decision announced yesterday by the Secretary of the Interior, to list the polar bear as "threatened," removes all doubt that the Endangered Species Act is broken and in need of urgent repair.  It is the environmental movement that must take responsibility for breaking it.  A sensible discussion of the polar bear requires acknowledging a simple fact:  that the polar bear is merely a proxy for something else.

Bear Baloney:  The case started with a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2005.  To settle it, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Interior division that administers the Endangered Species Act's land-animals provisions, proposed in December 2006 to list the bears as threatened.  The environmental groups argue that warming will melt sea ice, on which the bears often live, and that this loss of habitat will doom the bears to extinction.  In other words, they don't claim a current threat, but one decades down the line.

The Endangered Values List.  Environmentalists have now succeeded in placing the polar bear on the Endangered Species List despite the fact that, according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, their population has almost doubled from 10,000 in 1965 to over 20,000 in 2006.  This action will restrict the production of oil and natural gas in Alaska even further.

March of the Polar Bears.  A preventive war worked out so well in Iraq that Washington last week launched another.  The new preventive war — the government responding forcefully against a postulated future threat — has been declared on behalf of polar bears, the first species whose supposed jeopardy has been ascribed to global warming.

Sue, Sarah, Sue.  The polar bear … marks the first species on the "threatened" list whose supposed predicament is linked directly to global warming.  The current Alaskan polar-bear population may be near an all-time high.  But Interior Department computer models — such as they are — project widespread melting of the polar ice the bears need to hunt.  And that's a big problem, given the near-limitless powers embedded in the Endangered Species Act.

The Carbon Curtain:  Czech President Vaclav Klaus warns that environmentalism is becoming a new totalitarianism.  There is still a bear in the woods, but it's no longer the Russian bear.  This time, it's a polar bear.

Polar Bears Endangered — By Greenie Bureaucrats.  There [are] roughly twice as many polar bears in the world today as thirty years ago.  But on May 14th U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, invoking the U.S. Endangered Species Act, proclaimed polar bears as a "threatened species."  In 1972 the creatures had already lost value in the U.S. when the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibited their hunting in Alaska.  (And no, it's not the hunting ban that caused their increased numbers; they proliferated equally in Canada which continued the polar bear season.)

Alaska's 'Frustrated' Governor Palin On Our 'Nonsensical' Energy Policy.  We believe that listing polar bears as such is a significant threat to development, because most live on the North Slope.  (But) the biggest problem with the ruling is that we are the only state that is impacted.  Most polar bears (are found) in Canada.  We've got other places in the world once again telling us Alaskans how to live, and whether we can develop.  We've coexisted with bears for decades to no detrimental effect.  Our bear population is thriving.  This listing is nothing but interference from outsiders who insist on keeping Alaska from developing our resources responsibly.

Legal group sues over polar-bear listing.  The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the Bush administration's decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species, the latest salvo in the debate over global warming and its impact on Arctic wildlife.  Reed Hopper, the foundation's lead attorney on the case, said the polar-bear listing under the Endangered Species Act was the first time "that a thriving species has been listed based entirely on speculative models forecasting future events."

Atlantic solution for polar bear strays.  Polar bears that drift ashore on Iceland should be shot and not offered a safe haven, a commission has recommended.  The commission was appointed this northern summer after two polar bears landed on the northern coast of Iceland, apparently after being swept to sea on floes from Greenland, several hundred kilometres away.  Both were shot.  However the move sparked protests from conservationists and animal rights groups.

Endangered Specious.  Alaska says it will sue to challenge the listing of polar bears as a threatened species.  The designation could block vital oil and gas development.  But that was the whole point in the first place.

Alaska's Polar Bears:  Going With The Floe?  The green light given by the Fish and Wildlife Service for oil drilling off Alaska is being portrayed as an OK to hurt polar bears.  But there are so many polar bears, it's the drillers who should worry.

Polar Bear II

Global warming threatens pika, lawsuit claims.  Compared to the polar bear, the American pika is tiny.  Weighing only 4 to 6 ounces, this rabbitlike mammal with thick brown hair, which lives on boulder-covered slopes in Western mountains, could represent the latest effort to use the Endangered Species Act to combat global warming.  Environmentalists filed a lawsuit Tuesday [8/19/2008] in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to force the Bush administration to decide whether to list the pika for protection.

The Editor says...
If it really is a "rabbitlike mammal", there should be no shortage of these critters.  Once again, it is my opinion that the environmentalists' don't care so much about cute and furry animals; they are primarily concerned with strangling capitalism by obstructing every practical source of energy.

The inconvenient truth:  Not all ecophiles are goofballs, but many show considerably less concern for humans than for the kangaroo rat, the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly and that little darling the snail darter.  Radical environmentalism is often hazardous to your health.  That's the inconvenient truth Al Gore ignores.

Eco-Freaks.  Construction on a dam in Tennessee that was 95 percent completed had come to a halt because the courts had ruled it would violate the Endangered Species Act by harming the habitat of the snail darter.  Congress voted in to make an exception to the law, but the Senate vote was actually very close.

Report pegs cost of species protection in billions.  The yearly cost of enforcing the Endangered Species Act runs into the billions of dollars, not millions as reported to Congress by government agencies, says an audit released [4/14/2004] by property rights groups.  Despite the estimated $3 billion per year spent, the government has little to show for its recovery efforts, says the Property and Environment Research Center, which conducted the study for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

"Endangered Species" Cost USA Billions.  At a time when this nation is engaged in a war, putting the lives of its soldiers in harm's way to end the threat of Middle Eastern terrorism, it would seem inconceivable that its government would also be wasting billions to protect some species of salmon or the shortnose suckerfish.  But it is.

This is the report mentioned above:
Accounting for Species:  The True Costs of the Endangered Species Act.  The report found "limitations and inaccuracies" in the federal reporting.  For example, the only estimates provided by the Department of Energy are from the Bonneville Power Administration.  Without accurate figures for the costs of the Endangered Species Act, the ongoing public debate over whether the law is effective will be a misinformed one.

Lawsuit Targets Government Mouse Protections.  Hurricane victims and other property owners in Perdido Key, Florida, … have been prevented by the new mouse "habitat" regulations from rebuilding after their homes were destroyed by 2004's Hurricane Ivan.  In October, 2006, federal wildlife officials designated 6,200 acres in coastal Alabama and the Florida Panhandle as additional "critical habitat" for three mice on the Endangered Species Act list, including the Perdido Key beach mouse.

Using the ESA as a weapon:
Developer says rare flower was a plant.  When the sudden appearance of an endangered flower halted a controversial housing project in the heart of California's wine country, the developer, Scott Schellinger, suspected he was the victim of a set-up.  Now, after calling in experts from the state's fish and game commission, who have backed his findings, he is claiming that the "discovery" of rare and protected Sebastopol meadowfoam on the eight-hectare site near San Francisco was the work of opponents who transplanted the flowers from elsewhere.

Trouble in Bloom at California Development Site.  Did someone in this wine country town illegally plant an endangered flower to sabotage a proposed housing development?  That is the question at the center of a quarrel folks here have dubbed "Foamgate."

Biologist Charged With Destroying Plants.  The Los Angeles City Attorney's office says the former park supervisor cut down non-native plants in one of the largest coastal wetlands in Southern California, killing a ficus tree and myoporum shrubs.  He is facing six misdemeanor charges that include injuring vegetation without permission.  Each count could bring jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.

["Injuring vegetation without permission"??  Don't forget, it's California.]

ESA Listing Not Needed for Polar Bears.  Many analysts see the proposal to list the polar bear as threatened as not so much about the welfare of the bears themselves but as an effort to force the Bush administration to adopt regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions. … [Steven] Milloy noted, "If the administration admits that the bear is dying due to climate change, it may be forced to start energy rationing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to comply with the Endangered Species Act.  This is what the environmentalists filing the lawsuit had in mind all along."

Bill Delays Oil Exploration for Polar Bear Listing.  Biological Diversity is one of several environmental groups that has sued the Department of Interior for failing to meet itsdeadline for classifying the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act by Jan. 9, 2008.  If the polar bear is not listed as an endangered species, [Kassie] Siegel said her group will take the government to court.

The Mouse that Cost the Economy $100 Million May Never Have Existed.  After six years of Endangered Species Act regulations and restrictions that have cost builders, local governments, and landowners on the western fringe of the Great Plains as much as $100 million by some estimates, new research suggests the allegedly endangered Preble's mouse never existed.  Instead, it seems to be genetically identical to a cousin considered common enough not to need the federal government's protection.

What a relief!
Rat-Squirrel Not Extinct After All.  It has the face of a rat and the tail of a skinny squirrel — and scientists say this creature discovered living in central Laos is pretty special:  It's a species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years.

Biologist withdraws claim of rabbit's disappearance.  A Montana biologist has withdrawn his claim in a recent study that a rabbit species has disappeared from the Yellowstone area.  Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, said Thursday [3/6/2008] that he has been contacted by at least six biologists and naturalists refuting his conclusions about the white-tailed jack rabbit.

Loggerhead turtles may be put on endangered list.  The federal government is considering listing loggerhead sea turtles that live along California's coast and off Hawaii as an endangered species and further protecting their habitat.  Loggerhead turtles everywhere are already classified as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act, but environmentalists say a higher level of protection is needed.

What is the monetary value of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker?

Lost and found:  Reports of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's demise were greatly exaggerated.

Woodpecker Racket:  The 2005 reported sighting of the thought-to-be-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker in eastern Arkansas raised hopes of bird-watchers everywhere.  But a prominent bird expert cast serious doubt on the report in 2006, characterizing it as "faith-based" ornithology and "a disservice to science."  But the debunking may not matter.  Environmental groups used the dubious sighting to convince a federal judge in July 2006 to stop a nearby $320 million Army Corps of Engineers irrigation project.

Rare Woodpecker Sends a Town Running for Its Chain Saws.  Over the past six months, landowners here have been clear-cutting thousands of trees to keep them from becoming homes for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.  The chain saws started in February, when the federal Fish and Wildlife Service put Boiling Spring Lakes on notice that rapid development threatened to squeeze out the woodpecker. … Hoping to beat the mapmakers, landowners swarmed City Hall to apply for lot-clearing permits.

Same story:
Woodpecker mapping gets chain saws buzzing.  The sharp chirps of the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and the whine of chain saws sound discordantly in this coastal community of old pine forests.  Since word got around this spring that owners could face problems selling land or building houses where the birds lived, people have been rushing to clear undeveloped lots of pine trees and yanking the woodpecker welcome mat.

Disputed Woodpecker Halts Project.  A federal judge halted a $320 million irrigation project Thursday [7/20/2006] for fear it could disturb the habitat of a woodpecker that may or may not be extinct.  The dispute involves the ivory-billed woodpecker.  The last confirmed sighting of the bird in North America was in 1944, and scientists had thought the species was extinct until 2004, when a kayaker claimed to have spotted one in the area.  But scientists have been unable to confirm the sighting.

The Editor says...
1944, really?  Not so fast!
"The highlight of 1967 was the discovery, in Texas, of five to ten breeding pairs of ivory-billed woodpeckers — the first confirmed sighting of this rare bird since 1950.  It was believed extinct, or nearly so, because the hardwood forest that yielded its insect diet was destroyed.  Now, it seems, the bird may be adapting to the insect supply of the more plentiful slash-pine areas."

— 1968 Reader's Digest Almanac, page 768.    

Auburn professor is confident the magnificent ivory billed woodpecker is not extinct.  Professor Geoff Hill is a careful observer and a careful talker.  He knows what he saw, but he also knows what to say about what he saw.  In 2005 and 2006, deep in the swamps of the Florida Panhandle, he made several sightings of an ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct, last proven beyond a doubt to be alive in the 1940s.

Arkansas men say the saw rare woodpecker.  Kip Davis and Jay Robison saw what they believed was an ivory-billed woodpecker on Thursday [12/14/2006], one of thousands of reported sightings piling up as leaves in an east Arkansas swamp drift down.

Ivory-billed woodpecker remains elusive.  The local search for a woodpecker officially listed as endangered and unofficially accepted as extinct has ended the same way it started:  with hope.

 Editor's Note:   Some articles about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker celebrate the "return" of the woodpecker after all these years.  There's just one technicality I'd like to point out:  Animals do not return from extinction.  If the woodpecker is still around, obviously the experts were wrong!  These birds were somewhere for decades, but nobody saw them.  This goes to show that even the experts don't know the whereabouts of every animal, and can't say with any certainty that any animal this small is extinct.  This page has information on about 50 rediscovered species that were once thought to be extinct.

$27M Woodpecker Habitat Plan Unveiled.  Federal wildlife officials say spending more than $27 million to research the suspected habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker is worth the cost, despite conflicting views on whether the elusive bird even exists. … The agency this week released a 185-page draft plan aimed at preventing the extinction of the bird.

The bird is still the word.  August was a good news-bad news month for the ivory-billed woodpecker, the bird rediscovered in the Big Woods of the Bayou de View in 2004.

The great woodpecker hunt:  Away down in the swampy bottomlands of Dixie, the most intensive search ever for a bird is gearing up for a make-or-break season.  Big reputations are riding on the controversial quest for the ivory-billed woodpecker, the most magnificent and most elusive of America's tree-knockers.

Search for ivory-billed woodpecker to begin anew.  Last year, Allan Mueller thinks he saw the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker.  The wildlife biologist wants to make sure of it this winter.  Mueller plans to head back into the swamps of eastern Arkansas with a scaled-back search team consisting of 26 volunteers and three expert field biologists.

"Extinct" Bird Seen, Eaten.  A rare quail from the Philippines was photographed for the first time before being sold as food at a poultry market, experts say.  Found only on the island of Luzon, Worcester's buttonquail was known solely through drawings based on dated museum specimens collected several decades ago.

Scientists Nudge Fish Closer to Extinction.  Scientists trying to study the endangered Devils Hole pupfish near Death Valley inadvertently nudged the endangered fish closer to extinction.  About 80 of the inch-long silvery pupfish died in traps set last year in Devils Hole, a limestone cavern about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists said.

Another 'extinct' animal makes a comeback.  A duck that was feared to be extinct has been found alive and well in the wild after zoologists spent 18 years looking for it in the wrong sort of habitat.  The Madagascar pochard was last seen alive in 1991.  It had been given up for dead by most ornithologists.

Both Sides Await Word on Cave Bugs Case.  The U.S. Supreme Court could signal as early as today [1/24/2005] whether it will allow Central Texas cave bugs into its halls of justice, in a case that property rights advocates hope will gut the Endangered Species Act.  A decision by the Supreme Court whether to hear the case … in a dispute over six species of tiny bugs that have held up a housing and commercial development in Travis County for the past 17 years.

Florida Adopts New Standards for Endangered Species Listings:  On April 14 [2005] the FWCC jettisoned the state's preexisting means for designating species as being "of special concern," "threatened," or "endangered," in favor of international standards that rely on objective data instead of emotional public relations campaigns.

The mud puddle preservation plan.  When I was a boy growing up in California we called them "mud puddles."  If they grew large enough, grown ups called it "flooding."  But now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which enforces the Endangered Species Act, has adopted the bogus poetry of the environmentalist left, calling them "vernal pools."

Environmental Regulations Impede Pentagon Readiness.  The nation's ability to prepare troops for the deadly business of combat is being undermined by environmental restrictions being applied to military bases around the country.  Lawsuits brought by such groups as the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council have sought to impose the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Marine Mammals Protection Act, and other environmental statutes on military bases.  The lawsuits, and the restrictions on training that result from them, have come in direct conflict with military readiness.

More about Environmentalists vs. Military Preparedness.

Farmer Fined for Shooting Non-Native Wolf That Threatened Livestock.  North Carolina farmer Richard Mann thought he was shooting a large dog that was threatening his cattle.  But when he came back the next day to bury the animal, he was confronted by federal wildlife officials who charged him with killing a red wolf — a federally-protected species.  Mann was fined $2,000 and required to perform community service by building "wolf houses" and feeding the wolves.

Activists Sue to Block ESA Wolf Delisting.  Environmental activist groups have filed suit to block a federal government plan to allow state management of wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountain region.  With gray wolves set to be taken off the Endangered Species list, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have developed programs that would allow a limited amount of hunting designed to keep wolf populations at current levels.

Michigan Says Bald Eagles, Gray Wolves No Longer Endangered There.  Bald eagles and gray wolves have made such a dramatic comeback in Michigan that the state's Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is proposing the two species be removed from the state's Endangered Species List.  They would join nine other species under consideration for removal from the list.  Federal authorities have not considered either wolves or eagles to be endangered in Michigan since 2007.

The Endangered Spices Act:  Bad for People, Bad for Wildlife.  Residents of wildfire-prone Riverside County, California were prevented by the ESA from clearing firebreaks on their land lest they disturb the habitat of the endangered Stephens' Kangaroo rat.  When the inevitable fires came, people's homes and the rat's habitat went up in flames.

The Endangered Species Act is Not Working and Reforms are Needed.  Only eight out of the more than 1,400 listed species have recovered since the act was passed in 1973.  This is not a success story by any measure.  The far-reaching powers vested in federal agents to control landowners' use of their property have not worked to protect endangered species and may have had the opposite effect.

National Invasive Species Act

The Exotic Species War:  In the United States the public regularly reads anguished stories about the "damage" being caused by alien invaders such as zebra mussels and purple loosestrife. … In response, Congress passed the National Invasive Species Act and the executive branch has adopted a National Invasive Species Management Plan aimed at closing our borders to alien species.

Invasion of Alien Species:  How Severe A Problem?  We can never stop this problem, but we can learn to live with it if we commit ourselves to flexible informed management rather than to panic regulation and symbolic action.  We will make intelligent decisions only when the debate shifts from the unsupportable notion that "native" is always better to the all-important question of how we manage change in our natural economy.

New Report Warns Against Expansive New Regulation of 'Invasive Species'.  The report says limits would be of dubious value but would require massive new regulations on property use.  Furthermore, most "invasive species" actually are beneficial.

Invasive Species:  Animal, Vegetable or Political?  What do mute swans, kudzu, red clover, pigs, and starlings have in common?  Not much, except that they are all non-indigenous species — that is, the species does not originate from within the United States.  And that is essentially all they have in common.  Yet many government agencies, lawmakers and environmental special-interest groups would like to clump together the thousands of these species introduced within our borders and stamp out their existence.

Endangered Species:  The Endangered Species Act, designed to protect rare wildlife and plants, is up for congressional reauthorization.  It requires that species be listed as endangered or threatened solely on the basis of five scientific considerations.  It does not allow consideration of any economic factors.  The Supreme Court has interpreted the act as mandating that efforts to save a covered species must be undertaken "whatever the cost."

Can Government Really Protect Our Wildlife?  Special interest groups have convinced many Americans that the ESA has been a great success.  At the same time, they have used exaggerated claims of species extinction to convince the public that the ESA must be strengthened.  Among these are estimates that one-third of U.S. species are in danger, and that 100 species a day worldwide are going extinct.  But these claims are based on guesswork, not on facts.

The Endangered Species Act Debate:  Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, private property may not be taken for any public purpose without the payment of "just compensation."  Unfortunately, most environmentalists and private property owners disagree on whether the ESA is being used to take privately owned property or simply to protect a preexisting public interest in the natural flora and fauna.

Endangered Species Dangers:  The costs associated with enforcement of the Endangered Species Act are constantly increasing as the act is applied in new ways and to additional species, subspecies and distinct populations of plants and animals.

Throw Precaution to the Wind — Please!  Although the science may not be in just yet, many environmentalists say the consequences may be so dire that we need to adopt tough new regulations "just in case."

It's time for new owners.  Nearly half of America is now owned by the government.  How can free enterprise exist if government owns the land and resources?

"Saving" Salmon in the Pacific Northwest:  The ESA Hits Home.  Two elderly women in Lynwood, Washington, have been prohibited from selling an 18 acre plot of land because a tiny creek that runs through it drains into the Swamp Creek watershed, which is habitat for salmon.  Farmers in the Methow Valley have had their irrigation ditches shut off for the first time in 100 years and may lose an entire season of crops.  The city of Richland, Washington, cannot get approval to install 10 new traffic lights because of concerns over how transportation projects will affect salmon.

Salmon Recovery is Based on Junk Science.  Over the past decade, more than two dozen subgroups of Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead have been placed on the Endangered Species List.  Yet salmon populations are surging.  For example, Sockeye runs are the highest in 15 years and spring Chinook salmon runs are the highest since 1938.

Endangered Species Act Hits Home for Klamath Farm Families.  The Klamath Basin, located on the border of California and Oregon, is a community that was created, sustained, and is now being destroyed by the federal government.  This destruction is being wrought because of federal policies concerning an appropriately named creature — the suckerfish.

Ensuring That Humans Also Are A Protected Species:  Some work on levees and other flood-mitigation efforts has been stopped due to the presence of threatened or endangered species, putting human lives needlessly at risk.  Is Congress really willing to sacrifice the lives of Americans to protect a fly because it does not have the courage to stand up to special-interest environmental extremists?

Reforming the Endangered Species Act to Protect Species and Property Rights:  "The incentives are wrong here.  If a rare metal is on my property the value of my land goes up.  But if a rare bird is on my property the value of my property goes down."

How Regulation is Destroying American Jobs:  The federal government's efforts to protect the northern spotted owl, under the Endangered Species Act and other related laws, means millions of acres of land in Washington, Oregon, and northern California have been closed to logging operations.  Tens of thousands of loggers have lost or will lose their jobs because of these regulations, and thousands more jobs have been lost in communities dependent on logging as the principal industry.

The Sad Case of the Spotted Owl.  Spotted owls, we were told a decade ago, were disappearing because big bad timber companies were cutting down "old growth" forests.  So the environmental movement rushed to the forests, hugged the trees and issued news releases to decry the evils of the logging industry.  Save the owl.  Save the trees.  Kill the timber industry.  Of course, that was exactly the point.  Kill the timber industry. … In short, American industry suffered in the name of protecting the spotted owl.  Turns out it wasn't true.

Gray Wolves to Leave Endangered List.  Wolves in the northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list within the next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday [1/26/2007], a move that would open the population up to trophy hunting.

How has the ESA Impacted America?  There have been numerous examples of how the ESA has had adverse impacts throughout the country.  From Oklahoma where a thirteen mile highway project was delayed for four years because American burying beetles were found along two proposed routes, to Kentucky where loggers lost their jobs when the Forest Service shut down logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest for eight months in order to protect the red-cockaded woodpecker; people all over the country have felt the sting of the ESA's rigid enforcement.

ESA blamed for firefighter deaths:  An investigation into the July 10 "30-mile fire" in central Washington state has uncovered that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) played a central role in the deaths of four young firefighters combating the blaze.

Pombo Calls for Changes to the Endangered Species Act.  The importance of ESA reform is confirmed by many endangered species analysts.  "After three decades, and billions of dollars of spending by private parties, as well as local, state, and federal governments to comply with the Act, only 15 species out of the 1,853 species listed as endangered or threatened have been recovered," noted Daniel Simmons, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center.  "Clearly, the Act is due for a makeover."

The Endangered Species Act Reform Project:  It appears our collective long-range efforts to reform the ESA will take us down a number of side roads along the way.  The blatant, almost campaign-like overreach by federal environmental regulatory agencies to expand their jurisdiction is one of our most serious roadblocks.

Klamath water crisis was a painful betrayal.  When the federal government shut off irrigation water on April 6, 2001, to 220,000 acres of farmland and two wildlife refuges to "protect" a pair of bottom-feeding suckerfish species and Coho salmon — so plentiful [that] U.S. Fish and Wildlife workers were clubbing them to death elsewhere — it forever changed the face of controversial Endangered Species Act and people's lives.

How the Endangered Species Act affects the price of water:  Not since the snail darter has a creature so infuriated — and inspired — conservatives around the country.  The all-but-inedible, bottom-feeding suckerfish, which makes its home in a lake that feeds this normally fertile agricultural valley, has become the latest rallying cry in the battle to rewrite the Endangered Species Act.

Republicans to Planet Earth:  Drop Dead.  "For all of its power, the ESA has not worked well.  Of the 1,524 species listed as either endangered or threatened during the ESA's more than 20 years of existence, only 27 had been delisted by the end of 1995.  Seven of the 27 had become extinct, eight others had been wrongly listed and the remaining 12 recovered with no help from the ESA.  In fact, no species recovery can be definitively traced to the ESA."

Dead Snake Costs California $1 Million:  When California officials found a garter snake lying dead at a construction site, alarm bells rang and state officials scurried around while all work was shut down for over two weeks to unlock the mystery surrounding the tiny serpent's death.

The Endangered Species Act remains a dividing force:  "We believe the Endangered Species Act has been an utter and dismal failure," said Andy Caldwell, director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business, or COLAB.  "It has failed to recover very many species at all — despite the number of years and hundreds of millions of dollars that have gone into it."

 Excellent!   Up In Smoke:  The Stephen's Kangaroo Rat was listed as "endangered" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on October 31, 1988.  This little-noticed action launched a revolution in land use in southern California that has culminated in the fires that have now claimed at least 17 lives, destroyed close to 2,000 homes, and consumed more than 600,000 acres throughout the region.

The Many Facets of The Endangered Species Act

How Protecting a Fly Hurt the Sick:  U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service bureaucrats have held up construction of a hospital in Southern California and threatened county officials with heavy fines and arrests — all in the name of saving the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly.  In 1992, less than 24 hours before San Bernardino County was to begin construction of the hospital, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the fly as an endangered species and demanded that the county set aside the entire 68-acre hospital site as a preserve for eight flies known to live on the property.

Insect Halts Building Plans Worth Millions.  Developers and environmentalists in Southern California are at odds again, this time over the fate of a tiny, and not particularly lovable, fly.  But the Delhi Sands fly is unique:  It is the only fly to have made the list of endangered species, and that fact is holding up construction projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

What Gives You the Right?  The notion that property rights are incompatible with protecting the environment, justice, and morality lies behind Bill Clinton's designation of National Monuments in the final months of his administration; Clinton's executive order closing roads on some 58 million acres of public lands; the extraordinary abuses of private property owners under the Endangered Species Act; and most recently the radical and dangerous proposal in the Bush energy plan authorizing the federal government's use of eminent domain to take private property to clear the way for new power lines and pipelines.

Suckers for junk science?  On May 12, 2002, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a Federal Register notice rejecting petitions I had filed to remove from the Endangered Species List two species of sucker fish found in the Klamath Basin.  The fish were listed as endangered in 1988, on grounds that almost immediately proved to be false.  Biologists claimed, for example, the fish had not successfully spawned in 18 years.  Yet more than 10 times the expected population was found soon after the listings, with fish from all age classes, proving the suckers had been spawning all along.

Congress scrutinizes Endangered Species Act:  Members of the U.S. Congress, with the consent of the Bush administration, are taking a renewed look at the Endangered Species Act in light of numerous cases during the Clinton-Gore administration in which the Act's definitions and guidelines were often stretched to extremes to restrict use of private property and public lands.

More Specious Species Claims:  For years critics of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have noted how the ESA imposes draconian burdens on landowners without helping wildlife.

Bill Challenges Environmental Extremism.  After years of government-sanctioned harassment of citizens seeking to make an honest living, a House committee Wednesday [7/10/2002] is scheduled to vote on a bill to rein in the extremism of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The measure, H.R. 4840, would require "sound science" — solid, valid, legitimate scientific data to place a species on the endangered species list.

"Glades guru" joins opposition to feds.  An unabashed environmentalist and scientist has joined a rapidly growing coalition of residents, farmers and recreational groups in South Florida who are fighting back against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Park Service, as the agencies artificially flood tens of thousands of acres of prime residential and agricultural land in proximity to the Everglades National Park to "provide a crucial habitat for the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow."

The Green Taliban Of America:  The hubris of the Greens has allowed them to dictate to everyone just how we should conduct our lives for decades.  That is why you can't build a home, an office building, a factory, a hospital or a school, without an "environmental" study.  That is why Americans have been steadily deprived of pesticides, many used safely for decades, to protect us against the diseases spread by insect and rodent pests.  That's why millions of acres of our national forests burned this year because Greens won't let them be managed through selective logging or to allow roads to be built into those forests.  The list goes on and on because the Greens have been responsible for one third of every law and regulation in the Federal Register today.

The ESA turns energy into solid waste.  On April 4, 2001, a federal judge ruled that the Bureau of Reclamation's dam operations in the Klamath Basin violated the Endangered Species Act, which protects Coho salmon.  The judge's ruling and a USFWS Biological Opinion released on April 6 that called for increased lake levels to protect shortnosed and Lost River suckerfish, prompted the Bureau to cut off irrigation water to 90% of the irrigated farmland in the Basin.  There was no warning, and no discussion.  [And certainly no referendum.]

Environmentalists Square Off in Squirrel Squabble:  When a Pacific Northwest utility company announced in January [2001] it would build the world's largest wind power plant, it came at a moment when the West was feeling the pinch of energy-starved California.  But there's a problem:  The Washington ground squirrels, which are protected under the Oregon Endangered Species Act.

Protecting the environment:  California's San Bernardino County was just about ready to build a new hospital.  That was until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department discovered that the endangered flower-loving Delhi Sands fly was found on the site.  The county had to spend $4.5 million to move the hospital 250 feet; it also had to divert funds from its medical mission to pay for mandated Delhi Sands fly studies.

Shattered Dreams:  100 Stories of Government Abuse.  This publication highlights how regulations that are poorly written and/or inflexibly enforced can overwhelm, intimidate, bankrupt or otherwise harm average Americans.  It features situations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, building codes, INS, IRS, the Endangered Species Act, OSHA, Indian Affairs, zoning, property rights issues, etc.

Environmental litigation threatens endangered species:  Out of control litigation over the environment is actually threatening to do what the environmentalist movement doesn't want to see:  threaten endangered species.

Panthers and taxes:  the tools of landgrabbers.  The goals of the Wildlands Project are to convert "at least" half of the U.S. land area to wilderness, to manage "most" of the rest of the land for "conservation objectives," and to force people to live inside urban boundaries in what's euphemistically called "sustainable communities."

California's Next Crisis?:  The Golden State may soon run out of water.  The problem:  California is currently home to more than 34 million people, each and every one of whom gets thirsty from time to time.  It will have closer to 50 million in 20 years.  The state also hosts such multi-billion dollar industries as agriculture, tourism, and computer production, all of which require a steady flow of agua to stay afloat.  Rounding out the cast of characters is a hardcore environmental lobby that earnestly defends every inch of undeveloped land as indispensable for the state's ubiquitous endangered species.  They all want water, but there isn't enough to go around.

Washington, D.C. is the only city in the nation that can legally dump toxic sludge in its waterways.  The Environmental Protection Agency issues special discharge permits to the Army Corps of Engineers to transport — in the dead of night — chemically treated sludge from the Washington Aqueduct, a water purification facility, to the Potomac River, where it is dumped in violation of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.  The Corps has admitted dumping as much as 241,500 milligrams of suspended solids per liter into the river.  The maximum allowed limit for most states is about 30.  The nation's power elite are content with insisting that everyone else comply with burdensome environmental regulations while they ignore them.
- Wall Street Journal (9/4/2002) 
Quoted in Waste Wire 

"Everybody Knows They're Not Really Endangered:  We just need them to stop mining."

The Endangered Species Act deserves extinction:  I often wonder why people can't just put two-and-two together to come up with four.  Take, for example, a recent decision by a New Jersey appellate court regarding alleged "endangered species."  Rejecting a plea from the New Jersey Builders Association, the court ruled, in essence, that it was more important to "save" the Pine Barrens tree frog or the bog turtle, than to provide housing for those who live in the most densely populated State in the Union.

Global Green Goals:  How Environmentalists Intend to Rule the World.  It's the smoking gun.  Restructuring the Global Economy is a detailed roadmap to a green future ruled by radical elites from new command structures to be created in the United Nations.

Environmentalism, Eco-Terrorism and Endangered Species:  While mainstream environmental groups may try to distance themselves from the Earth Liberation Front and its "eco-terrorist" methods, the truth is that ELF did directly what mainstream environmentalists have been doing indirectly for years via the U.S. government's Endangered Species Act (ESA).

After a Long Struggle, Whooping Crane Population Hits Milestone.  One of the most beloved groups of winter Texans is back, in the largest number in a century and with a record 45 youngsters in tow, including an even rarer seven pairs of twins.  They flew 2,400 miles from Canada's Northwest Territories and can be seen munching on blue crabs and bright red-orange wolfberries among the marshes of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Whooping crane no longer on brink of extinction.  After a 100-year absence, the whooping crane is on the verge of making a huge comeback.  On the brink of extinction in the 1940s, the tallest bird in North America has received an assist from the technological assets of mankind, as the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership has orchestrated its reintroduction to the wild.

Whooping crane count in Texas up to record 270.  The whooping crane population has set another record with 270 of the endangered birds wintering on the Texas Coastal Bend.  The birds in the world's only wild flock spend each winter in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas before returning to Canada and the Wood Buffalo National Park.

Wind Farms Threaten Endangered Whooping Cranes.  More than six decades of painstaking conservation efforts that have brought the majestic whooping crane back from the brink of extinction may come undone because of the proliferation of wind farms in the United States.

The Editor says...
Hmmm... Six decades of conservation efforts?  That means the whooping crane problem was being addressed long before the ESA existed.

Whooping cranes are arriving in Aransas Co..  The flock is the only naturally occurring whooping crane population in the world.  Every fall it migrates south to the refuge north of Rockport with youngsters in tow.  They stay through early spring before heading back to Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada where they nest and raise babies.

NW Montana grizzly count nearing 550.  More than 500 "unique individual grizzlies" roam the northwestern Montana backcountry from the Canadian border to Lincoln, with Glacier National Park boasting the largest number, according to DNA studies conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.  In 2004, the bears left behind identifying hairs at tree rubs and on barbed wire, which researchers collected. … Not every bear in the ecosystem visited the hair-collection locations, so the 545 figure is a minimum count, not a total population estimate.

Endangered Species Act endangers rights of landowners:  By stripping landowners of control over their land, the act has discouraged species protection.  [Some people believe] if you find a listed species, you should kill it, bury it and never say anything.  Less dramatically, owners of forest land cut down trees to avoid attracting the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, which nests in old-growth trees; and adjust logging practices to discourage the habitat favored by the northern spotted owl.

Web site:  Undue Influence dot com:  Tracking the environmental movement's money, power, and harm.  "The environmental movement is not what you think it is.  It is not about the environment.  It is about power."

Here is another very interesting ESA page with a bunch of timely articles.

Ruled by scoundrels:  The more federal control over education, the worse it becomes.  The Endangered Species Act has attacked and trivialized private property rights.

Time To Hold Environmental And Climate Doomsayers To Account.  In 2009 [David] Suzuki claimed "...we have witnessed decades of decline for diverse sockeye populations from the Fraser Watershed, some of which are now on the brink of extinction."  The 2010 sockeye salmon run was the largest in almost 100 years and Suzuki is silent.  He's too busy on a book tour promoting his false legacy.  His real legacy is destroyed economies, lost jobs and hardship for people, anxious children and weakened communities.

Economic Debates on the Performance of the Endangered Species Act:  Over 50% of the money actually expended on the ESA recovery by federal and state agencies, between 1989 and 1991, was spent on the "top" ten species.  These species are also referred to as megafauna.  Scientists feel that people will part with their money for these species because they are easier for the majority of the population to identify with.  The following is a list of the actual breakdown of these ten species (Metrick and Weitzman, 1996).
Bald Eagle                  $31.3 million
Grizzly Bear                $12.6 million
Northern Spotted Owl        $26.4 million
Least Bell's Vireo          $12.5 million
Florida Scrub Jay           $19.9 million
American Peregrine Falcon   $11.6 million
West Indian Manatee         $17.3 million
Florida Panther             $13.6 million
Red-cockaded Woodpecker     $15.1 million
Whooping Crane              $10.8 million

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Updated July 5, 2024.

©2024 by Andrew K. Dart