Interior/WildEarth Guardians agree to analyze backlog of candidate Endangered Species

The list of species the federal government has been more or less forced to consider for ESA protection has been growing longer and longer over the years, and yet it acts very slowly, complaining that species are being added at too fast a rate. Much of the agency’s tiny budget was eaten up responding to new petitions and defending itself from lawsuits trying to force it to consider various species for ESA protection.

Yesterday, however, it was announced the Department of Interior had made a deal with WildEarth Guardians to analyze 251 species in the backlog over the next 6 years. Officials say this will help clear the backlog. In the last four years WildEarth Guardians was filed about 700 petitions to list species. With this deal, Guardians will be allowed to file only up to ten new ESA petitions a year. Guardians will also ask to have all its pending lawsuits in the matter dismissed.

There is no assurance the government will list any species in the agreement, although it is likely quite a few will end being listed. Some, such as the greater sage grouse, are much more controversial than others. The sage grouse is controversial because it has been heavily impacted by the politically potent livestock sector as well as oil, gas, and wind development.

This is an agreement only with Guardians and does not prevent any other group from filing petitions.

Under the ESA, it was not supposed to work this way. The law’s supporters expected the environment-conscious government would discover and list species on its own accord with citizen petititions to list a species serving only as backup. The reality has been much to the opposite, however.

This deal has yet to be approved by a federal judge.

Interior Dept. strikes deal to clear backlog on endangered species listings. By Juliet Eilperin. Washington Post.

Wild Earth Guardians web site on the agreement

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More on 5-12-2011. The deal includes the sage grouse. Felicity Barringer at the New York Times tells how the sage grouse got to where it is. A Bird’s Convoluted Conservation Odyssey

Salazar Cancels Oil and Gas Leases on your public land in Utah

Bush Administration Had Opened 110,000 Acres Near Pristine Areas to Energy Exploration-

Interior Secretary Cancels Leases on Federal Land in Utah. Bush Administration Had Opened 110,000 Acres Near Pristine Areas to Energy Exploration.By Juliet Eilperin.Washington Post Staff Writer.

April Clauson reported this in a comment earlier. Above is the full story.
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This is sale the brave University of Utah student disrupted. See below.

Scrapped Utah drilling-lease sale thrills Redford, monkey-wrencher. On hold » While actor, U. activist cheer, industry laments Salazar’s decision to shelve auction of 77 redrock sites.
By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune

Environmentalists Wary of Obama’s Interior Pick

Reaction to Salazar pick in NYT-

Environmentalists Wary of Obama’s Interior Pick . John M. Broder.

Oh god! Salazar showed up wearing a cowboy hat. Makes you sick.

Well everyone should hold their breath and count until the “lesser” nominations.


Obama Names Salazar As Secretary of Interior

Salazar decribed as a “moderate” and a “broker”-

From WaPo. Obama Names Salazar As Secretary of Interior. By Juliet Eilperin, Phil Rucker and Dan Morgan.

That is so offensive to hear him described as “a fifth-generation Coloradan whose family settled in the West before the United States’ founding and has ranched and farmed on the same land in the San Luis Valley for more than a century. . . .”

They could say the same about me, but me and most of my relatives seem to have lost our political importance when we didn’t ranch.

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Ritter promises quick decision on Salazar seat. Politico.

Has anyone thought that Obama might have wanted a more reliable vote in the US Senate than Salazar?

Grijalva steps up to bat on another Bush Interior ‘midnight regulation’

Grijalva steps up to the plate and goes to bat against another Bush Interior “midnight regulation” aimed at looting sacred water for the Peabody Western Coal Company while tribes perform spiritual ceremonies.

Dang, if you listen close – that sounds like a John Prine endorsement to me !

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Forest Service May Move to Interior. Some See Agency As Out of Place Under the USDA

Forest Service May Move to Interior. Some See Agency As Out of Place Under the USDA. By Christopher Lee. Washington Post Staff Writer.

While this may seem new, this is one of the oldest controversies in the history of American conservation.

The Forest Service began at the end of the 19th century as the Division of Forestry in the Department of Interior. President Theodore Roosevelt and his key advisor, forester Gifford Pinchot, pushed to move the Division of Forestry to the Department of Agriculture. USDA was then a new department. Many felt it was progressive and science-minded compared to the old line Department of Interior, then properly regarded as a site of corruption. The Division was moved, renamed the U.S. Forest Service, and Pinchot became the first Chief Forester. He had a very close relation with President Roosevelt during his time in office.

Pinchot was the father of the concept that the national forests should be used for many things (multiple use), not protection of wildlife and scenery alone. In fact, he devalued these latter ideas, causing a split in the early conservation movement between the utilitarian and development minded conservationists and those who sided with John Muir — “esthetic conservationists.” Both were disliked in places like Idaho. In fact, Idaho’s senator Heyburn (an early day Larry Craig) successfully pushed legislation to stop the creation of more national forests by the President.

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