From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:

U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel
on December 31, 1998 rejected a suit filed by
the Mountain States Legal Foundation,
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association,
Colorado Woolgrowers, and Colorado
Outfitters Association, which sought to keep
the Colorado Division of Wildlife from reintroducing
lynx by contending that the state is
improperly managing a federal species recovery
program. Mountain States Legal
Foundation attorney William Pendley said he
would take the case on to the 10th Circuit
Court of Appeals, and would seek an emergency
injunction against any lynx releases
while the matter remains in litigation.
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
continues to tout the so-called “no surprises”
Multiple Species Conservation Program his
office negotiated in 1994 with San Diego
developers as a model for endangered species
conservation on privately owned habitat, but
the California Native Plant Society, San
Diego Audubon Society, and San Diego
Herpetological Society in a December 27
lawsuit claim the Multiple Species
Conservation Program is not adequately protecting
habitat. They cite as case in point the
recent bulldozing of a wetland which included
about 60 vernal pools, home to endangered
San Diego fairy shrimp.

The Southwest
Center for Biodiversity u n s u c c e s s f u l l y
sought an injunction against the bulldozing.
Defenders of Wildlife on
December 22, 1998 sued the Border Patrol,
alleging that low-flying helicopters and roaddragging
operations in the Sonora desert along
the Arizona/Mexico border may be harmful to
endangered Sonoran pronghorns, long-nosed
bats, and desert tortoises. The activity
involves portions of the Barry M. Goldwater
Range, Cabeza Prieta National Refuge and
Wilderness, Organ Pipe Cactus National
M o n u m e n t , and the Tohono O’odam
N a t i o n, all of which are under federal jurisdiction.
In addition to claiming violations of
the Endangered Species Act and N a t i o n a l
Environmental Policy Act, Defenders
charges the Immigration and Naturalization
S e r v i c e, the parent agency of the Border
Patrol, with violating the Freedom of
Information Act by not responding to a
request for records concerning helicopter
effects on pronghorn. The suit follows up a
notice of intent to sue served on the Border
Patrol in 1996. The Border Patrol said then
that it would work with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to produce a plan to insure
the safety of Sonoran pronghorns, of whom
about 120 live on the U.S. side of the border,
with another 500 in Sonora state, Mexico.
Forest Guardians and New Mexico
Animal Protection Inc. on December 22,
1998 sued the Forest Service for allegedly
violating the Freedom of Information Act by
improperly denying copying fee waivers normally
granted to media and public interest
organizations, and asking the groups to prove
how obtaining the information they request
will contribute to better general understanding
of whatever the issue.
Friends of the Earth and Forest
G u a r d i a n s head a coalition that sued the
Forest Service on December 17, alleging that
it routinely ignores legal requirements to do
cost-benefit analyses of all timber sales which
weigh against the sale price of the logs the cost
of environmental damage plus lost tourism and
recreation opportunities. Filed in Vermont,
the suit contends, in essence, that Forest
Service activity mostly does more economic
harm than good, and therefore fails to fulfill
its object of appropriately managing public
resources for common benefit.
The Southwest Center for
Biological Dirversity recently served notice of
intent to sue the Department of the Interior,
demanding that all livestock be taken off public
lands throughout the range of the endangered
desert tortoise until and unless studies
prove that cattle grazing does not interfere
with tortoise recovery.
In a separate but somewhat parallel
case, the Southwest Center for
Biological Diversity on December 16 sued the
Forest Service for allegedly jeopardizing
American bald eagles, southwestern willow
flycatchers, Mexican spotted owls, Gila topminnows,
and Arizona hedgehog cactus––and
accused the Forest Service of trying to circumvent
an April agreement which was to reduce
grazing pressure in the 2.9-million-acre Tonto
National Forest. The case was the 100th the
Southwest Center has filed in nine years,
mostly seeking stronger Endangered Species
Act enforcement. It came a week after a setback,
when U.S. District Judge David Alan
E z r a ruled against the Southwest Center, in
favor of rancher Jeff Menges and the Arizona
Cattle Growers Association, holding that
there is no legal mandate to protect potential
endangered species habitat if there are no
endangered species anywhere nearby.
U.S. District Judge Terrence W.
Boyle on December 21 upheld the federal right
to protect red wolves, nullifying a 1994 North
Carolina state law which sought to allow property
owners to kill the wolves if they strayed
into private land. Plaintiff Richard Lee
M a n n was fined $2,000 and ordered to perform
community service in 1990 for shooting a
red wolf he claimed had approached his cows.
Federal judge Garland E. Burrell
on December 24 upheld a 1994 U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service finding that row cropping by
farmers who lease portions of the 22,000-acre
Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National
Wildlife Refuge, along the Oregon/California
border, are “compatible and consistent” with
waterfowl management. The USFWS position
was challenged by the Klamath Forest
Alliance, Oregon Natural Resources
Council, and 10 other environmental organizations,
who contended that heavy use of pesticides
in connection with raising onions,
potatoes, and sugar beets are detrimental to
the quality of the wildlife habitat.
Five months after issuing a warning,
the European Union on December 2
announced it will sue France in the European
Court for igoring EU laws protecting migratory
birds. French bird hunting seasons start too
early, last too long, fail to protect nesting
sites, and fail to protect four specific endangered
or threatened species, the EU charged.

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