<< For what it's worth, here's the opinion of Ray Vaughan, the environmental
who successfully sued the USFWS to list the Alabama sturgeon:
"The stated reason why the FWS has issued this moratorium on listings is that
they claim that lawsuits by environmental groups over critical habitat
designations have so crippled the agency that work on critical habitat is all
they can do. Basically, they are saying that because they got caught breaking
the law so many times in the past by refusing to designate critical habitat
(which the ESA requires), they are going to break the law again by abandoning
their duty to list imperiled species. Interestingly enough, despite this
of a lack of funds to do their work, the FWS has never bothered to request an
adequate amount of funding from Congress. They have known for more than a
that the ESA programs are underfunded, and they have perversely liked it that
Right now, Ray Vaughan is suing the USFWS to list the Vermilion darter as
Whatever the "real truth" is, the people in the Service that I know have put
their entire heart and soul into doing everything they can to protect the
species....including scrambling for every dollar they can find to do REAL
conservation work. Designating critical habitat is, at best, marginally
helpful to the species protection. Sometimes, even listing is not in the best
interest of the species.
Sometimes you have to choose your battles carefully....and, in my opinion,
sueing the Fish and Wildlife service is not one of them. They've done some
crappy things and many of the problems come from the very upper end of the
organization. But, tieing up what limited funds they do have by lining some
lawyer's pocket is not the answer.
Just my two cents.
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