Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Judge Denies Attempt by Bush Administration to Weasel out of Agreement

I originally wrote about this here.

In a nutshell, the Bush Administration entered into an agreement that set a timeline for making a decision on whether to list the sage grouse as an endangered species. They discovered to their horror, that if they stuck to the timeline that they might actually have to use science in their determination. It gets worse. Through the use of this science, they found that they might be forced to make a decision that might have an adverse effect on the oil and gas industry.

Oh, I'll bet someone at Fish and Wildlife spent a few hours in Deadeye Dick's chamber of horrors for that one. To him, the only good sage grouse is a dead one. Preferably after it's been drugged and tied to a stake so he can shoot the little bugger.

Anyways, they tried to back out of the agreement, and the federal judge is not having any of it.

A federal judge is holding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to a deal reached with environmentalists that sets a timeline and other conditions on whether to grant threatened or endangered status to the sage grouse.

The wildlife agency sought to back out of a stipulation filed with the court in January that set a May 2009 deadline to determine whether to list the bird under the Endangered Species Act. The deal also required the agency to consider a new and critical scientific report on the bird due out in November and give the public 60 days to comment on the report's findings.

Across the West, decisions about the sage grouse are considered critical to the future of gas and oil drilling, agriculture and urban growth.

Last month, government attorneys sought to back out of the deal, saying top Fish and Wildlife officials never signed off on it. The agreement was approved by Department of Justice lawyers, who negotiated the timeline and other details with the Idaho-based Western Watershed Project.

Sigh. These people are just awful.

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