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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Five Lawsuits Filed over California Critters


Continuing our campaign to right the wrongs done to almost 60 imperiled animals and plants through political interference in species science, last week the Center for Biological Diversity filed five lawsuits against the administration for illegal Endangered Species Act decisions robbing six species of needed protections. All the species at the heart of our latest action -- the western snowy plover, California tiger salamander, southwestern willow flycatcher, Buena Vista Lake shrew, Munz's onion, and San Jacinto Valley crownscale -- had their federally protected habitat drastically reduced, taking away key habitat areas deemed by scientists to be essential to the species' survival or recovery. The cuts, ranging from 23 percent to 100 percent of protected habitat, happened because meddling bureaucrats like former Interior official Julie MacDonald censored or illegally edited scientific documents to justify reducing protections. Ongoing investigations by the Government Accountability Office, House Natural Resources Committee, and inspector general have already caused the resignation of more than one high-level Interior official (including, of course, MacDonald herself).

The Center initiated our campaign to fight MacDonald-era corruption on August 28, 2007 with a notice of intent to sue over 55 species decisions. Since then, our list of species wronged has grown to 57, we've filed suit for 26 species, and we've already had substantial success in securing agreements from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-do habitat designations for 15 species. We won't end our campaign until we make sure all the species hurt by political interference are restored their rightful protections.

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