Pacific Legal Foundation Moves to Delist Western Snowy Plover


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Posted by seldom seen slim on December 04, 2003 at 13:06:29:

Washington,DC; September 24, 2003:

Pacific Legal Foundation Moves to Delist Western Snowy Plover—60-day Notice of Intent to Sue Filed Today

Pacific Legal Foundation today filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government, charging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with maintaining Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the Western Snowy Plover based on junk science.

PLF filed the notice on behalf of the Surf Ocean Beach Commission (SOBC). SOBC filed a delisting petition for the plovers in July of 2002. As a result of the Western Snowy Plover’s protected status and the government’s designation of critical habitat for the birds, beachgoers from Washington state to Baja, California, have been faced with severe use restrictions and, in some cases, beach closures. Prohibited activities on beaches where plovers may nest include basically everything-including walking on the sand. In addition, military readiness has been impacted by the plover’s listing. During nesting season, the Navy has coned off up to 80% of its beach training area so that plovers might have the chance to nest.

“In California, Oregon, and Washington, unneeded protections for the Western Snowy Plover have resulted in people being kicked off the beach. Families can no longer camp on some beaches. School field trips have been postponed indefinitely. In years past, thousands of tourists flocked to the Pacific Coast each year for recreation. Now the tourism in a number of affected beach communities is drying up,” said PLF Managing Attorney Russ Brooks.

“Perhaps most troubling is the impact this plover listing has had on military training. According to the Navy, training exercises for navy SEALs have been so severely altered on some beaches that the listing has jeopardized their ability to prepare for combat situations,” said Brooks.

“These days, it seems the only people U.S. Military personnel may not be able to defeat are the bureaucrats at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he added.

One year ago today, on September 24, 2002, SOBC received a letter from FWS acknowledging the requirement that it act within 90-days on a petition to delist the Western Snowy Plover sent to them by SOBC in late July, 2002. PLF is charging the government with sitting on a wealth of scientific information that justifies removing the plover from protected status and lifting unneeded beach use restrictions. Specifically, PLF argues that data about the Pacific Plover demonstrates that the Western Snowy Plover is not a distinct population or separate species entitled to its own set of ESA protections.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must act to correct their mistake. If they fail to do so within 60 days, we will be banging on the courthouse doors to force action,” said Brooks.



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