For Immediate Release
Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495
Four Lawsuits Filed to Protect 93 Species Across Country
WASHINGTON - The Center for Biological Diversity has filed lawsuits
in Washington DC; Sacramento; Portland, Oregon; and Tucson seeking
protection for 93 species, including the California golden trout,
cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, Puerto Rican harlequin butterfly, and
dusky tree vole. The lawsuits challenge the Obama administration’s
failure to make required findings on petitions to list the species as
endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
had hoped the Obama administration would move far more quickly to
provide protection for endangered species than Bush did, but so far
this has not been the case,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species
director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Continued delay of
protection places these 93 species in real jeopardy.”
the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is
required to make a series of findings that should result in a species
being listed in no more than two years. For each of the 93 species, the
agency has failed to make one or more required finding. In several
cases, findings are years overdue. The California golden trout, for
example, has been waiting more than nine years.
reform is needed at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to unseat a
culture of delay and foot dragging,” said Greenwald. “We’ve yet to see
comprehensive reform in the endangered species program under the Obama
These 93 petitioned species add
to the backlog of 249 candidate species recognized by the Fish and
Wildlife Service as warranting protection, but for which the agency
claims it lacks the resources to actually provide protection. The
agency’s claims of lack of resources are undermined by the fact that
the listing budget has increased by 275 percent between 2002 and 2009
and the fact that the agency used to list considerably more species in
past years. Under the Clinton administration, a total of 522 species
were listed for a rate of 65 species per year. During the Bush
administration, however, only 62 species were listed. To date, the
Obama administration has only listed two species.
are hundreds of wildlife species facing extinction and in need of
protection,” said Greenwald. “With the necessary political will and a
can-do attitude, these species could easily be protected under the
Endangered Species Act in a matter of a few years; there’s just no
justification for further delay.”
The Center is
holding off on suing over 48 species from Kauai for one week because
the administration has promised to list these species within that time.
The Center petitioned for many of the species in 2004.
Background on the Species
1. Ozark chinquapin is a tree from the southeastern United States that has been hurt by chestnut blight.
2. Llanero Coqui is a recently described species of small frog from Puerto Rico that is threatened by habitat degradation.
3. Puerto Rican harlequin butterfly is a rare butterfly that is threatened by habitat destruction.
3. Oklahoma grasspink is a species of orchid from the Midwest and South that has been greatly reduced by agriculture, urbanization, and forestry.
4. Striped newt
is a newt that is dependent on ponds and adjacent pine forests in
Georgia and Florida, where it is threatened by urbanization,
agriculture, and forestry.
5. Bay Springs salamander is known from one pond in Mississippi, where it has not been found in recent collections and may be extinct.
6. Berry Cave salamander occurs in three counties in Tennessee, where it is declining and threatened by habitat destruction.
7. Least chub
is a fish now limited to roughly five populations in Utah, where it is
threatened by plans by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pump
massive amounts of groundwater, as well as by nonnative species and
1. California golden trout
is currently limited to a couple of drainages in the upper Kern River,
where it is threatened by hybridization with nonnative trout and
2. Mount Charleston blue butterfly is found only in the Spring Mountains near Las Vegas and is near extinction.
3. Mojave fringe-toed lizard isfound in three dune complexes in Nevada and is primarily threatened by rampant off-road vehicle use at Dumont Dunes.
4. 42 Great Basin springsnails
found in parts of Nevada, Utah, and California are threatened by plans
by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pump massive amounts of
groundwater, as well as by livestock grazing.
5. Tehachapi slender salamander is threatened by urban sprawl including on Tejon Ranch.
6. Mohave ground squirrel is found in the west Mojave desert and is threatened by urban and rural sprawl.
7. Amargosa toad is only found in the Oasis Valley of Nevada and is threatened by urban sprawl and water development.
1. Dusky tree vole is
limited to northwestern Oregon and lives almost its entire life in
trees, where it is dependent on forest characteristics typical in
old-growth forests and is thus threatened by logging.
2. Black-footed albatross is a large seabird that nests in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands and is threatened by longline fishing.
3. Lake Sammamish population of kokanee salmon is limited to Lake Sammamish near Seattle and threatened by urban sprawl.
4. 32 Pacific Northwest mollusks
includes species with names like cinnamon juga, hoko vertigo, and
knobby rams-horn, many of which are limited to a small number of sites
in old-growth forests, where they face threats from logging and other
1. Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is a small, feisty owl that is threatened by urban sprawl around Tucson, Arizona.
2. Tucson shovel-nosed snake is a small brightly colored snake that, like the pygmy owl, is threatened by urban sprawl from Tucson and Phoenix.
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.