Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Groups file appeal for endangered whitebark pine

Not satisfied with a lower-court ruling favoring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two environmental groups are filing an appeal asking that whitebark pine be listed as an endangered species. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and WildWest Institute filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a lower court judge ruled that the USFWS hadn't done anything wrong when it decided not to list the whitebark pine as a threatened species. In July 2011, the agency determined that whitebark pine forests have enough threats, such as climate change, to warrant listing. However, the USFWS was not abusing its power or being arbitrary when it decided other species have a higher priority for listing, said U.S. District Judge Dana Christiansen of Missoula in his April 25 ruling. The USFWS has identified more than 260 species that qualify for Endangered Species Act protections but are yet to be listed. “The FWS has already found that whitebark pine trees are going extinct due to global warming,” said Mike Garrity, AWR executive director. “Whitebark pine seeds are an important food source for grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We are going to keep fighting to keep whitebark pines from going extinct because Yellowstone grizzly bears are so dependent on them.“ The U.S. Forest Service estimated that climate change would result in the whitebark-pine population shrinking to less than 3 percent of its current range by the end of the century...more 

This is a nice little racket.  Congress, including the Republicans in the House, appropriates money to the Forest Service to study global warming.  The enviros then use that federally-funded research to sue the feds under the ESA, and if they win or there is a settlement, the feds pay their attorney fees.

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