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Browsing the archives for the Endangered Species Act category.

DOI accused of trying to sidestep Congress

Agriculture - California, CORRUPTION, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams

PNP comment: We posted this article earlier this week, but the “glitch” on March 16, 2016 took it away, so it is being posted again. — Editor Liz Bowen

Western Livestock Journal

March 14, 2016

—Accusation comes following efforts to close Klamath dams

The federal Department of the Interior seems motivated to get on with the largest dam removal in U.S. history. For years, likely due to local opposition in southern Oregon and northern California, Congress has refused to support the removal of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River. But on March 1, at a hearing of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA1) accused the Department of the Interior of attempting to sidestep Congress and the will of the people by signing an agreement to create a “non-federal entity” that would help facilitate the removal of the dams.

“What I have here,” said La- Malfa, addressing Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Mike Connor, at the hearing, “is a copy of an ‘agreement in principle’—you just signed this last month—in which the Department of Interior agrees to work with California, Oregon, and PacifiCorp to create this socalled ‘nonfederal entity.’” Deputy Secretary Connor at first told LaMalfa the department had no role in creating the entity. He later admitted that federal funds were being used toward the project.

Since Congress holds the purse strings, and that body has never approved federal spending to remove the dams, the structures have remained safe to date. But the creation of this “nonfederal entity” (or “shell corporation,” according to La- Malfa) would effectively take the federal government out of the equation—constituting an “end-run” around Congress and flying in the face of federal transparency laws, LaMalfa said.

According to Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams, who spoke with WLJ, congressional approval is still a must. He said dam removal and any “bistate compact” both require federal legislation.

“So they can’t do this,” Mallams said. “But they keep saying they’re going to try to manipulate the law to make it work.”

Secret meetings?

“We’re seeing an administration that claims to be the most transparent in history engaged in closed meetings, neck-deep in a shell corporation, and requiring stakeholders to sign nondisclosure agreements just to learn how they’ll be affected,” said LaMalfa at the March 1 hearing.

He was referring to closed-door meetings held by Department of the Interior, California, Oregon, and PacifiCorp, which is the owner of the dams. Only certain stakeholders had reportedly been invited to discuss the plans for the dam removals, and they had been required to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to participate.

“It is entirely inappropriate for public employees to participate in secret meetings and force those whose lives could be impacted to sign nondisclosure agreements,” LaMalfa added at the hearing. “For the record, I want you to know that I’ll be submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to your office for documents related to these meetings.”

LaMalfa asked Deputy Secretary Connor to answer whether the “non-federal entity” that the agency was attempting to form would be required to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and other open-government laws. Connor did not give a clear answer, saying it all depended on the future entity’s structure.

“This seems like a front company in a process designed to avoid public scrutiny and avoid open government laws,” said LaMalfa.

“The administration is moving forward with its goal of dam removal while ignoring the water supply issues that impact thousands of residents.”

In email correspondence with WLJ, LaMalfa said the agencies have, after pressure by him and his staff, agreed to hold open public meetings. One will be held March 16 in Sacramento.

“We will insist they hold a meeting up in Yreka [Siskiyou County], where people are actually going to be impacted—not six hours away in ‘Fort EPA’ with $20 parking,” LaMalfa told WLJ.

Past attempts

Dam removal and water rights have been at the hub of controversy on the Klamath River for decades. Over the past few years, several local Native American tribes and environmental groups have teamed up to push for dam removal. The tribes’ position was strengthened in 2013 when an Oregon judge determined they had senior water rights “from time immemorial.”

Though the water rights fight is not over, appeals of other water rights holders could take years to be processed. In the meantime, the tribes are legally able to exercise their alleged senior water rights.

According to Mallams, the 2013 ruling gave the tribes leverage to force farmers, ranchers, and other local water users to sign onto a dam-removal agreement. Now that the tribes could issue a “call” on their water rights any time, farmers and ranchers in particular were desperate to find a way to protect their water use, something crucial to their businesses. Many area farmers and ranchers signed onto the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and two other agreements in exchange for the promise of continued use of the water.

The agreements called for the four Klamath dams to be removed downstream from the Klamath Basin; for hundreds of miles of riparian areas to be fenced throughout the entire watershed; for farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin to give up 30,000 acrefeet of water rights (being used to irrigate 18,000 acres); and for farmers and ranchers to drop their legal challenge of the tribes’ water rights.

“Some people were so desperate to keep their water, they signed onto agreements they would have never otherwise supported,” Mallams told WLJ. “I could hardly blame them. The problem is, the ‘promises’ contained in the agreements were weak. Nowhere in the agreements was there a real guarantee that those producers could keep using the water.”

In the meantime, Mallams said, anyone who signed on to the KBRA and other agreements had a “gag order” not to speak ill—or at all—about them. The agreements needed congressional approval, Mallams explained, and that meant Congress needed to believe there was local support. Signors were threatened with losing their water usage if they spoke out against the agreements, he said.

The opposition prevails

On Jan. 1, 2016, the KBRA and accompanying agreements expired. This marked the end of several years’ efforts to get congressional approval of the agreements.

“The people of Klamath and Siskiyou counties have said, ‘No, no, no,’” said Commissioner Mallams. “And Congress has listened to them.”

While proponents of the dam removals claim that it’s necessary to “restore ecological balance” to the Klamath River and to boost salmon runs, opponents have made opposite predictions. For example, Siskiyou County Supervisor Michael Kobseff listed a host of problems with dam removal when he testified before Congress in 2013.

Agriculture and ranchers will “suffer significant losses” in his county, Kobseff said. He added that the dams provide hydropower to some 70,000 residents, and that no replacement source of power has been identified if the dams are removed. The dams also serve to control catastrophic floods, have “transformed former marginal habitat into world class fisheries,” provide water for fish in times of drought, improve water quality generally by providing a settlement basin for naturally occurring toxins, and cool the warm water coming in from the upper high desert basin in Oregon.

The Iron Gate dam makes possible a fish hatchery that produces over six million salmon smolts annually, Kobseff said. Dam removal, he noted, would likely release nearly 20 million cubic yards of sediment loaded with toxic minerals. “This release may result in massive destruction of the ecosystem,” he testified.

As the creators of the original Klamath Basin agreements appear to be searching for another way to make the dam removals happen, LaMalfa says he will remain on point.

“I’ll continue working to get answers,” said LaMalfa in a House floor statement on March 2. “…But in the meantime, the administration needs to end its focus on dam removal and work towards a solution that doesn’t ignore the water supply issues that affect so much of the West…” He posed the rhetorical question: “Why is the priority something that’s going to hurt the people of the region, hurt their goals?” At a time of extreme drought, he said, “we should be pursuing water storage in California and putting this issue aside.”

— Theodora Dowling, WLJ Correspondent 

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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PLF sues California regulators for not monitoring protected species

Endangered Species Act, Lawsuits, Pacific Legal Foundation

PNP comment: This is great news. In the initial aspect of the ESA, it was intended for populations of ESA-listed species to improve. The goal was to remove species from the ESA. Ha! Now, the government agencies act is such a way that proves they do not want species de-listed or removed from the ESA, so they can continue to bring tyrannical regulations on the heads of property owners and destroy businesses, communities and economies. — Editor Liz Bowen

Pacific Legal Foundation Press Release

SACRAMENTO, CA;  February 24, 2016:

Attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation have just sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), to force it to perform overdue status reviews for 233 species that are listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

Damien M. Schiff
Principal Attorney

Tony Francois
Senior Staff Attorney

Wencong Fa
Staff Attorney

Donor-supported PLF is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.

In this lawsuit, launched today in San Diego County Superior Court, PLF attorneys represent the California Cattlemen’s Association.

CESA requires that the status of every listed species be reviewed every five years.  (Cal. Fish and Game Code, Section 2077).  The DFW has listed 235 species for more than five years, but it has conducted the required five-year status reviews on only two of them — the Swainson’s hawk and the California least tern.  The rest have not been monitored under the five-year review process mandated by law.  PLF’s lawsuit — a petition for writ of mandamus — asks the courts to declare that the DFW is in violation of law for failing to monitor these 233 species in a timely manner, and to order the agency to move forward with status reviews on all of them, as required by California Fish and Game Code Section 2077.

“This lawsuit seeks to ensure that species protection in California is pursued with integrity, effectiveness, and accountability to science and the rule of law,” said PLF attorney Wencong Fa.  “The state’s failure to monitor protected species is an abdication of both legal and environmental responsibilities, and a violation of public trust.  It is unfortunate that the Department of Fish and Wildlife has to be sued to do its duty and conduct five-year reviews, because keeping current on the condition of protected species is fundamental for credible regulations.”

Conducting timely status reviews isn’t just common sense – it’s the law

“The law requires five-year status reviews for an obvious, commonsense reason — so regulators can base decisions on up-to-date scientific information,” Fa continued.  “Timely reviews allow officials to determine whether there is a need for a change in a species’ listing and in the level of regulatory protection.  Indeed, keeping current on the status of listed species is the only way to monitor the effectiveness of regulatory protections.

“Periodic status reviews also safeguard property owners from unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed for species that no longer need protection,” Fa continued.  “And five-year reviews protect taxpayers — and the cause of efficient environmental policy — by making sure resources are focused on species that need them, and not diverted to species that are out of danger.”

Feds update the status of species — while the state stalls

The list of plants listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the CESA is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=109390&inline.

The list of animals listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the CESA is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=109405&inline.

“Tellingly, seven of the species listed under California’s ESA law have already been reclassified or recommended for reclassification by federal officials under the Federal ESA,” Fa noted.  “Because California officials have not conducted status reviews on any of those species within the last five years, they have no idea whether reclassification is also appropriate under state law.”

Those seven species are the Beach Layia (found in Humbolt County, Marin County, Monterey County, and Santa Barbara County); Santa Cruz Cypress (San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County); Modoc Sucker (Lassen County); Least Bell’s vireo (found in 20 counties in both Northern and Southern California); and the San Clemente Island Indian Paintbrush; San Clemente Island larkspur; and San Clemente Island bush-mallow.

(Note:  This federal updating of species listings came about as a result of earlier PLF legal action that prodded federal officials to conduct their own overdue five-year status reviews of federally protected species, as required by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.)

Plaintiff:  The California Cattlemen’s Association

In the lawsuit against DFW, PLF attorneys represent the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit trade organization founded in 1917 to represent beef cattle producers in legislative and regulatory affairs.  The association currently has over 3,000 individual members and 38 affiliated county or multi-county cattlemen’s associations located throughout California.  CCA has members in every county in California, and its members raise cattle in every county except for San Francisco.  The beef cattle industry contributes over 26,000 jobs and more than $1.5 billion annually to California’s agricultural economy.

Beef cattle producers own or manage approximately 38 million acres within California.  A substantial number of CCA members own or manage properties inhabited by species listed as either “threatened” or “endangered” under the CESA.  Because species listings can impose economically harmful regulatory restrictions on grazing and other responsible property use, CCA members have a vital interest — along with all taxpayers and everyone who values sound, informed environmental policy — in ensuring that the status of listed species is reviewed as required by CESA, so that listings and regulations reflect accurate, up-to-date science.

The case is California Cattlemen’s Association v. Department of Fish and Wildlife.  More information, including the petition of writ of mandamus is available at www.pacificlegal.org.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.  PLF represents all clients without charge.



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Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, CRIMINAL, Endangered Species Act

PNP comment: This is what is behind the tyranny of the BLM and federal agencies over Western lands and the need to get rid of ranchers that own land like the Hammonds and Bundys. — Editor Liz Bowen

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Klamath National Forest Issues Decision for Westside Fire Recovery Project

Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, FIRES, Forestry & USFS

PNP comment:  It was actually the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that held up this decision by 16 months. It had a deadline to do its environmental studies and they arrogantly surpassed it by well over a year!  Delay is the tactic federal agencies are using to thwart and stop resource use. — Editor Liz Bowen

March 1, 2016


On Monday, February 29, Forest Supervisor Patricia Grantham signed a decision for the Westside Fire Recovery Project on the Klamath National Forest. The Westside Fire Recovery Project proposed a variety of landscape treatments in response to the impacts to over 187,000 acres of National Forest land that burned during the large wildfires of 2014. The Westside project includes the areas that burned within the Beaver Fire, Happy Camp Complex, and the Whites Fire. Communities directly affected by these fires included Happy Camp, Seiad Valley, Horse Creek, Hamburg, Klamath River, Scott Bar, Sawyers Bar, Quartz Valley, Etna, and Fort Jones, as well as numerous outlying residential enclaves.

The February 29 decision includes 5,570 acres of salvage harvest, 12,700 acres of tree planting, 320 miles of roadside hazard treatment, and 24,450 acres of hazardous fuels reduction, including 11,180 acres of prescribed burn. Planned salvage harvest, roadside hazard treatment and hazardous fuels reduction have been strategically located on the landscape and are designed to work in tandem in order to provide increased community protection and to reduce the damaging effects of future high intensity wildfire.

“My decision on the Westside Project is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and thought brought forward by the public, interest groups, tribes, other agencies, elected officials, collaborative groups, and Westside project team professionals,” commented Grantham. “With this decision, we have the ability to reduce fire-created threats to the public, Forest workers, neighboring landowners and important infrastructure. We have the ability to keep important access open and build fire breaks and reduce dead fuels in strategic areas to reduce threats from future wildfire. We have the ability to replant severely burned areas to recover the Forest as quickly as possible. I am proud of the work that went into this decision and look forward to implementing it as soon as possible.”

The Westside decision follows the July 2015 release of the Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project. During preparation of the FEIS, more than 13,000 comments were received on the project. Recent regulatory approvals allowed for the current decision to move forward.

The Record of Decision, and other project documents, can be viewed on the internet at http://fs.usda.gov/goto/klamath/westside. It is also available at the Klamath National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Yreka, the Yreka public library, and at the Forest Service Ranger District offices in Happy Camp and Fort Jones.

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Feds allocate water for endangered fish, leave Calif. farmers high and dry

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Politicians & agencies, Water, Resources & Quality

– The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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 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.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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American Stewards of Liberty file intent to sue feds over ESA listing

American Stewards of Liberty, Endangered Species Act

ASL Files Notice of Intent to Sue for the Delisting of the American Burying Beetle

January 20, 2016, American Stewards of Liberty and its partners sent Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) pursuant to the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1540(g), for failure to respond within the statutorily prescribed 90 days to our petition to delist the American Burying Beetle (Nic rophoru s americ anu s ) in accordance with ESA § 4(b) (3)(A).

The American Burying Beetle (“Beetle”) has been on the endangered species list since 1989 and is known to occur in ten states:  Arkansas, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Texas.  It is the largest of the carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) in North America, and was placed under federal protection based on anecdotal evidence that its historical range had been reduced by 90%.  The Service’s position was not based on scientifically defensible, range-wide studies of presence/absence or abundance.

Today, there is no evidence the Beetle is in danger of extinction across all or a significant portion of its contemporary range. The known contemporary range, distribution, and abundance of the Beetle is actually expanding.  Additionally, at the time of listing, the Service was unable to identify any actual threats to current populations of the Beetle and more recent analyses of threats are based largely on speculation and surmise – not actual evidence of downward pressure on the current abundance or distribution of the species.

For these and other reasons stated in the Petition to Delist, ASL has filed its intent to sue the Service for failure to act on the petition in a timely manner.

This is the third Notice of Intent to Sue filed by ASL for the delisting of species that need to be removed from federal protection.  Click here for more information on the Beetle and other species.

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CA Senator Ted Gaines’ statement about the Canadian gray wolf on 1-21-16

Dept. Fish & Game, Endangered Species Act, State gov, Wolves

Statement of Senator Ted Gaines Regarding the Draft Gray Wolf Conservation Plan

January 21, 2016

Yreka, California — meeting held by staff from the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Read by district staff person Dave Meurer to Senator Gaines

It was a surreal moment on June 4, 2014, when the California Fish and Game Commission said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was staffed by clueless people who did not know what they were talking about. The Commission used more diplomatic language, but that was the import of the message. My office was represented at the meeting, and thus had a front row seat. For those who were not in Fortuna on the day of that fateful meeting, here is how it went down.
Not merely the staff, but the Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) meticulously outlined why the gray wolf is NOT at risk of extinction due to ANY of the six factors that were under consideration by the Commission. Let me reiterate – the very biologists and specialists the taxpayers employ to advise the Fish and Game Commission said that the gray wolf did not meet a SINGLE factor that could trigger an “endangered” listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). None. Zero. Zip.
Indeed, on February 12, 2013 the United States Fish & Wildlife Service issued a press release with this headline: “Successful Recovery Efforts Prompt Service Proposal to Delist Gray Wolf and Focus ESA Protection on Mexican Wolf.” It is beyond bizarre that even as the federal government was proposing to remove the gray wolf from the federal roster of threatened and endangered species, California concluded that the wolf was in mortal peril.
The fact is that the gray wolf population, as a whole, is thriving. The federal government recognizes the fact that even though the wolf is not widely dispersed in California, this does not mean it is in peril as a species. California should not be fashioning public policy around a few wolves that wander between Oregon and the north state. But the Commission chose to ignore the totality of the US wolf population, which is doing astonishingly well. Using that same logic, the Commission could declare the giraffe endangered, as we never see them frolicking near Etna.
Tragically, the listing decision pretty much blew up the efforts of the ranching and farming communities who had been working constructively with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to craft a management plan. The outrageous decision by the Fish and Game Commission effectively took away almost every tool in the tool box. Under the current decision, ranchers are not even supposed to hop on an ATV and chase the wolf off lest they be guilty of “harassing” the timid carnivore. Local ranchers will be effectively unable to defend their livestock against a predator which is unknown in other parts of the state, leaving them at a significant disadvantage.
In the absence of a CESA listing, the California Wolf Plan would have allowed the Department to protect the wolf while also protecting ranchers from these disproportionate losses. I am thankful that friends at the Pacific Legal Foundation are looking into this flawed decision. I just wish the Fish and Game Commission had not foisted this travesty upon us. And I wish to thank the Department of Fish and Wildlife for at least trying to do the right thing. My hope is that your expert analysis can be the basis for overturning what a dissenting Fish and Game Commissioner deemed “the stupidest decision” the Commission has ever rendered.

Thank you.

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Sierra Pacific Announces Permanent Closure of Arcata Sawmill; More than 100 Jobs Lost

Economy, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS, Greenies & grant $

PNP comment: If marijuana grows had the heavy regulations that forestry, mining and agriculture have to deal with, there wouldn’t be much pot available. Looks like the wrong industry is under-regulated. — Editor Liz Bowen

Lost Coast Outpost.com

Ryan Burns / Yesterday @ 5:20 p.m. / Economy

The Sierra Pacific Mill off Samoa Boulevard/State Route 255. | Google Street View

And another one gone. Humboldt County’s timber industry continues its long and steady decline with the following announcement from Sierra Pacific Industries:

Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) today announced it will close its sawmill in Arcata, CA.

“This is a particularly sad day for Sierra Pacific and for my family” said A.A. “Red” Emmerson, chairman and president emeritus of SPI. “Our company started in the Arcata area when my father and I leased our first mill there in 1949 near Jacoby Creek. We went on to build the Arcata mill on the Samoa Peninsula, which we’ve run steady since 1951,” he noted.

About 123 crew members will be affected by the closure. According to SPI [Sierra Pacific Industries], reduced harvests of suitable timber and regulatory burdens are the primary reason for the closure. That, combined with a difficult lumber market have profoundly impacted operations in Arcata.

“A fall-off in the amount of suitable timber for sale in this area, coupled with flat home construction in the U.S., and increased lumber imports from Canada have all played a role in our decision to close the mill” said SPI spokesman Mark Pawlicki. “But, make no mistake, the largest factor was that the type and size of logs that this mill cuts are simply not available in ample supply to continue to run the mill,” he added.

“When combined, these factors leave us no choice but to close the plant,” said Pawlicki. In an effort to keep the Arcata mill running, SPI has been transporting logs from the interior of California, and has barged logs from British Columbia and Washington. However, those efforts proved to be uneconomical.

Sierra Pacific is a strong, growing company and has job openings at other locations. Crew members are being encouraged to consider opportunities at these locations, and relocation assistance will be offered for each person who is approved to transfer.

Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California, employing over 4,500 crew members. The company owns and manages 1.9 million acres of timberland in California and Washington, and is among largest lumber producers in the U.S.

Sierra Pacific has 13 other sawmills operating in California and Washington, and has started construction of a new mill in Shelton, WA. The company also has window, renewable power, sales, and lumber remanufacturing facilities in operation in multiple states.

Sierra Pacific is committed to managing its lands in a responsible and sustainable manner to protect the environment while providing quality wood products for consumers.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Oregon Department of Forestry cancels 28 timber sales to settle marbled murrelet lawsuit | OregonLive.com

CA & OR, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS, Greenies & grant $

PNP comment: Remember this is a very pro-environmental Greenie article from Oregon Live.com and this is outrageous that 28 timber sales have been stopped, making the area ripe for forest fires, but for the government to be made to pay for the Greenie lawsuit costs are ridiculous. No wonder they love to sue!!! — Editor Liz Bowen

Oregon Department of Forestry cancels 28 timber sales to settle marbled murrelet lawsuit | OregonLive.com


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ALASKA: Agency rejects endangered listing for Southeast Alaska wolf

Endangered Species Act, Greenies & grant $, Wolves

PNP comment: Of course, the wolf-lovers do not agree with this decision. But the truth is that wolf pack populations easily increase, because of the number in litters and of litters each year. Wolves are thriving. — Editor Liz Bowen

Dan Joling | Associated Press

January 5, 2016

A federal agency has concluded that a Southeast Alaska wolf affected by logging and hunting does not merit placement on the endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands do not warrant additional protections.

“Although the Alexander Archipelago wolf faces several stressors throughout its range related to wolf harvest, timber harvest, road development, and climate-related events in Southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia, the best available information indicates that populations of the wolf in most of its range are likely stable,” the agency said in an announcement.

Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list the wolves in August 2011. Larry Edwards, a Greenpeace representative in Sitka, said Tuesday the decision was disappointing.

“We think there’s a lot of things they didn’t get right in the finding,” he said by phone.

The wolves are genetically distinct from other wolves in the Tongass National Forest. They den in root systems of large trees and their main prey is Sitka black-tailed deer.

The agency estimates the Alexander Archipelago population throughout its range at 850 to 2,700 wolves. Environmental groups wanted wolves on Prince of Wales and nearby islands to be considered a distinct population segment. The Fish and Wildlife Service concluded they didn’t qualify.

“The population does not persist in an unusual or unique ecological setting; loss of the population would not result in a significant gap in the range; and the population does not differ markedly from other populations based on its genetic characteristics,” the agency said.

The service acknowledged Prince of Wales wolves have declined and may continue to do so in the next 30 years.

“However, wolves here constitute only 4 percent of the range of the Alexander Archipelago wolf and 6 percent of its current estimated total population,” the agency said. “Therefore, negative population impacts on these islands will likely not affect the rangewide population in a significant way.”

Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said there is clear evidence that Alexander Archipelago wolves are at immediate risk of extinction on Prince of Wales.

“The Endangered Species Act doesn’t say you can just write of a portion of a species range, especially a substantial portion like Prince of Wales Island,” he said.

The groups will weigh their options before determining whether to challenge the decision, he said.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, applauded the decision. Alaska has the largest population of gray wolves in America, she said in an announcement.

“At a time when timber harvesting on Prince of Wales Island is barely a tenth of its levels of two decades ago, the attempt by some environmental groups to list the wolf seemed to be an effort solely to end the last of the remaining timber industry in Southeast Alaska,” she said. “Fortunately, it did not work.”



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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