The Environment

  Judge To Bush Administration: Decide Polar Bear Listing NowApril 30, 2008 14:02 A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to determine by May 15 whether or not the polar bear deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act because its survival as a species is threatened by global warming.

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilkin found the Bush administration guilty of violating the Endangered Species Act by missing the deadline for a final polar bear decision by nearly four months.

Judge Wilkin ruled for the plaintiffs, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC, and Greenpeace, on all issues in finding that the Bush administration has violated the law

The court order, issued Monday evening, requires the administration to publish a final decision in the Federal Register by May 15, and for the decision to take effect immediately, bypassing a 30-day waiting period that applies unless circumstances warrant faster action.

The Interior Department had requested an additional delay, until June 30, for its lawyers to finish reviewing and revising the decision.
  Where The Buffalo Roam -- And DieApril 28, 2008 22:12 How can a population be truly wild when it lives in a managed boundary and could be 100% targeted and killed by error filled government programs?

More than half of Yellowstone National Park's bison herd has died since last fall, forcing the government to suspend its annual slaughter program.

More than 700 of the iconic animals starved or otherwise died on the mountainsides during an unusually harsh winter, and more than 1,600 were shot by hunters or sent to slaughterhouses in a disease-control effort, according to National Park Service figures.

As a result, the park estimates its bison herd has dropped from 4,700 in November to about 2,300 today, prompting the government to halt the culling program early.

"There has never been a slaughter like this of the bison since the 1800s in this country, and it's disgusting," said Mike Mease of the Buffalo Field Campaign, a group seeking to stop the slaughter program for good.

Government officials say the slaughter prevents the spread of the disease brucellosis from the Yellowstone bison to cattle on land near the park. Brucellosis can cause miscarriages, infertility and reduced milk production in domestic cattle.

 
  Off Endangered List, Wolves Face New Pressure From HuntersApril 28, 2008 09:43 Tony Saunders stalked his prey for 35 miles by snowmobile through western Wyoming's Hoback Basin, finally reaching a clearing where he took out a .270-caliber rifle and shot the wolf twice from 30 yards away.

Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies have been taken off the endangered species list and are being hunted freely for the first time since they were placed on that list three decades ago, and nowhere is that hunting easier than Wyoming.

Most of the state with the exception of the Yellowstone National Park area has been designated a "predator zone," where wolves can be shot at will.

For Saunders, killing that wolf was a long-awaited chance to even things out because he has lost two horses to wolves and blames the canines for depleting local big game herds.

"It's hard for people to understand how devastating they can be," said Saunders, 39, who ranches at Bondurant, Wyo., 30 miles southeast of Jackson, Wyo.

Since federal protection was lifted March 28 and states took over wolf management, 37 wolves have been killed, just over 2 percent of their population. Since 66 animals were transplanted to the region 13 years ago, an estimated 1,500 now roam Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Environmental and animal rights groups plan to file a lawsuit Monday seeking an emergency injunction to block the killings and trying to put wolves back on the endangered list.

They predict that if states continue to control the animals' fate and proceed with public hunts, wolves could be driven back nearly to extermination in the region.

"There will be opportunistic shooting 365 days a year. This will become a continual black hole for wolves," said Franz Camenzind with the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, which is joining the lawsuit.

Despite the removal of wolves from the endangered list, killing them in the Northern Rockies is nothing new. Last year, a record 186 were shot, primarily by wildlife agents, for killing and harassing livestock.

But since the beginning of this year, 59 wolves already have been reported killed in the three Northern Rockies states, about three times the 19 killed over the same period last year — most of them just in the month since they lost federal protection.

State officials blamed this year's increased hunting in part on heavy snow, which kept wolf packs at lower elevations where sheep and cattle range.

"That's the reality of managing wolves in a modern landscape. Some of them are going to be removed," said Eric Keszler, spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

In fact, entire packs have been legally killed off in past years because of livestock conflicts, according to biologist Mike Jimenez with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  Climate Change Faster Than ExpectedApril 25, 2008 15:37 A study by the global conservation group World Wildlife Fund says that climate change is having a greater impact in the Arctic than was previously thought.

The report is being unveiled at the meeting of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of Arctic nations Thursday in Norway. WWF says the new report represents the most wide-ranging view of the situation since the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment was published in 2005.

The study finds that the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic sea ice is "severely accelerated." Expert scientists believe it's to such a degree that they're discussing whether both are at their tipping point - where natural systems can face sudden, rapid and possibly irreversible change.

One aspect of the report dealing with summer Arctic sea ice shows that in 2007, it shrank to 39 per cent below its 1979 to 2000 mean, the lowest for the entire 20th century.

WWF Canada Director of Species Conservation, Dr. Peter Ewins, says new evidence in the report shows polar bears could face even earlier regional extinctions and that Prime Minister Harper must make a firm commitment to preserve the species.
  Northern Oil Drilling Will Hurt Polar BearsApril 25, 2008 15:34 Canada's decision to open bidding for the rights to drill in the northern Beaufort Sea will destroy a large area of critical polar bear habitat and put the animal's future in danger, the World Wildlife Foundation said Thursday.


"These are areas where polar bears and bowhead whales and beluga whales and who knows what else call home," Dr. Peter Ewins, WWF Canada's director, told CTV.ca on Thursday. "Clearly these areas are important, perhaps critical, habitat for the pressured polar bears."


The rights to oil and gas exploration on more than 2.9 million acres of continental shelf in the Beaufort Sea, north of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, were recently offered up by the Canadian government. Bids will be accepted until June 2, when the rights will be issued.


On Wednesday, the U.S. government began selling similar property in Alaska. More than $2.6 billion was offered for the purchase of 2.7 million acres of the continental shelf in the Chukchi Sea.


In the next few days, the U.S. is expected to decide whether to add polar bears to its Endangered Species Act -- a decision Ewins said was postponed in order to give the U.S. government time to sell more land.


Ewins said the Beaufort and Chukchi seas are the "last conventional oil and gas frontiers" left for development.


The governments are rushing to open oil drilling now because they will not be allowed to if the polar bear is declared endangered, he said.


"They're trying to sneak in as many of these oil and gas sales as possible before the polar bear gets listed as threatened," he said.


If the polar bear is listed as threatened, the onus would be on a developer to ensure their actions do not interfere with the animal's habitat.
  Greenpeace Stops The Trading Of Endangered SpeciesApril 23, 2008 11:59 You'd probably find the idea of an event for trading in rhinoceros horns or tiger skins pretty shocking. But today, 1,600 companies from 80 countries came together in Brussels to trade all sorts species, including some threatened and endangered ones: fish, also known as our global marine life.

The Brussels Seafood Expo is the world's biggest sea food trading event, where species on the brink of collapse - like Mediterranean bluefin tuna and North Sea cod - are, literally, served up on a plate.

So 80 Greenpeace volunteers braved the smell and went along to the expo to close down business, locking themselves to stands and covering them with fishing nets. Banners in 13 languages told the traders that 'time and tuna are running out' and, by taking over the sound system, our volunteers explained that stalls - including the one belonging to the world's largest tuna trader, Mitsibushi - had been closed down.

Thanks to bottom trawling, purse seining, longlining, and other industrial fishing methods, the world's oceans are in crisis. Some two-thirds of fish stocks are either fully exploited or overfished and many stocks are on the brink of collapse. Going sustainable, we told traders, is the only way to ensure your business - the world's marine life - has a future.
  Conservationists Want Lynx Protected In NMApril 21, 2008 10:33 A coalition of conservation and animal protection groups on Monday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a continuing effort to force it to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the Canada lynx in New Mexico.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife, which has released more than 200 lynx in Colorado since 1999, tracked about 60 of the animals into New Mexico's Taos, Rio Arriba and San Juan counties between 1999 and 2006, the lawsuit said.

The federal government lists the elusive, furry cats as threatened in 14 states—but not in New Mexico.

"We've thought the Fish and Wildlife Service's position on lynx in New Mexico is very odd," said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that sued. "Once lynx cross from Colorado into New Mexico—which they have been doing—they're suddenly not protected anymore. We don't think that makes any sense."
  President Bush'S Environment Plans CriticisedApril 21, 2008 09:36 President Bush has been criticised by environment groups after he called for a halt to the growth of US greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 but offered few ideas on how to achieve it.

The proposal on global warming, which fell short of European proposals, was announced as the US Congress prepares to consider more ambitious plans and before international climate change negotiations take place in Paris.

Mr Bush offered only broad principles, such as focusing on emissions from the power industry, and rejected new taxes, abandoning nuclear power and trade barriers.

Mr Bush said: “The wrong way is to raise taxes, duplicate mandates, or demand sudden and drastic emissions cuts that have no chance of being realised and every chance of hurting our economy.”
  Column: National Media Useless about Trash IslandApril 14, 2008 13:33 Floating in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between California and Hawaii, is a giant island of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's twice the size of Texas and has been growing ten-fold every decade since 1950.

The fact that most amazes me, however, is that I had never once heard of this "island" until yesterday.

The island was formed as several major ocean currents all flowed to the same spot, carrying trash with them. As the currents moved on, the trash began collecting there, until it became the giant mess it is today.

While it seems as though most of America's national newspapers don't believe it merits much attention, I'm pretty sure that a huge trash island off the coast of California is certainly newsworthy. I find it hard to believe that Britney's breakdowns and Lindsay's rehab stints are more newsworthy than an island of trash that weighs 3.5 million tons and is floating somewhere off the coast of San Francisco.

The Giant Pacific Garbage Patch is one really great example of what happens when you don't fix something early on. Perhaps, in its infancy, this trash island could have been removed from the ocean. Maybe some sort of trash pick-up plan could have been implemented. But I guess America had bigger concerns, and now added to those can be a big island of trash that would cost millions to clean up. So, we'll just leave it there, because it's a problem that is too large and too costly to handle.

However, it's not just the United States that is contributing to the garbage island. That trash is coming from all over the world, and it's hanging out in our backyard. This is a problem that the world needs to come together to work on. If the pile continues to grow at the rate it has been, ten times its size every decade, then it will be 20 times the size of Texas by 2018. That is an area I can't even begin to imagine and that one nation cannot handle on its own.
  In The West, A Fierce Battle Over WolvesApril 12, 2008 22:25 Gray wolves have entered the spin cycle.

Since March 28, when the wolf was taken off the list of federally protected species in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, a fierce battle of perceptions and posturing has unfolded on the Web and in the news media as pro-wolf and anti-wolf forces stake out sometimes hyperbolic positions concerning where in the West animals and humans should exist.

The backdrop is a running time clock and a lawsuit. On April 28, a coalition of environmental groups has said it will to go federal court challenging the decision to lift protections.

Until then, the court of public opinion is in session, as cases are built for how the new system of state management is working or not.

One wolf lover in California, in a forum posting on the Web site Yellowstone.net, proposed that tourists boycott Wyoming to protest the policies in a state where at least 10 wolves were shot in the first week after the rule change, according to state figures. Some Wyoming residents responded that such an action would be just fine by them, especially if more Californians stayed home.

Some ranchers and hunters urge caution in killing wolves unnecessarily, to avoid inflaming emotions that could haunt the legal process later on.

“I would certainly not want to create any useful ammunition, no pun intended, for the pro-wolf environmental groups that have announced their intention to sue,” said Budd Betts, a dude-ranch operator and former Wyoming state legislator near Jackson Hole. “The legal aspect is connected to the emotional and the political, and no judge is immune.”

Pro-wolf forces, meanwhile, say that wolf killers may have created a martyr. On the first day protections were lifted, a partly crippled and much photographed radio-collared wolf named 253M was legally shot near the town of Daniel in western Wyoming.

The killing made headlines as far away as Utah, where 253M had wandered in 2002, before being transported back to Wyoming. A story in The Salt Lake Tribune quoted a woman as saying she had wept at the news of the animal’s death.

Responding to what it says are numerous public inquiries, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department began a weekly wolf update on its Web site, starting on April 4.

“We’re hearing a lot, from all sectors of the public,” said a spokesman, Eric Keszler. “Some want no wolves to be killed — others ask where the trophy game area is going to be.”

Wyoming, Montana and Idaho plan their first wolf trophy hunting seasons this fall. About 1,500 wolves inhabit the three states, most of them descended from 66 wolves introduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid-1990s.

State management plans allow for wolf hunting — or in some places, outright eradication — with a target population of 150 in each of the three states.

 
  Endangered Whale’S Home Proposed For Oil DevelopmentApril 09, 2008 15:36 The Bush Administration today took the first step toward opening up 5.6 million acres in the Bering Sea off Alaska to oil and gas leasing. The proposal, published in today’s Federal Register by the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, would allow oil development in an area north of the Aleutian Islands near Bristol Bay that has been designated critical habitat for the North Pacific right whale, according to a written statement from the Center for Biological Diversity.

The North Pacific right whale, once ranging from California to Alaska and across the North Pacific to Russia and Japan, was decimated by commercial whaling and is now the most endangered large whale in the world. Perhaps fewer than 50 individuals remain in a population that visits the Bering Sea each summer to feed, according to the statement. “Drilling in Bristol Bay would be drilling through the heart of the most important habitat of the most endangered whale on the planet,” said Brendan Cummings, CBD oceans program director. “If the North Pacific right whale is to have any chance of survival, we must protect its critical habitat, not auction it off to oil companies.”

In July 2006, approximately 36,000 square miles of the Bering Sea were designated as critical habitat for the right whale under the Endangered Species Act. The designation came as a result of a lawsuit brought by the Center. More than half of the area proposed today for leasing is within right whale critical habitat, according to the statement.

Ironically, the leasing proposal by the Minerals Management Service was made the very same day that a different federal agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, published a final rule in the Federal Register that reaffirms the designation of critical habitat for the North Pacific right whale in the lease area.

Last month the Fisheries Service formally recognized the North Pacific right whale as a distinct species under the Endangered Species Act. Previously the whale had been considered the same species as right whales in the North Atlantic. Today’s critical habitat designation protects the same areas in the Bering Sea as the 2006 designation of critical habitat, but transfers this habitat protection to the newly recognized North Pacific right whale.

 
  Noaa Considers Case To Protect Five Puget Sound Rockfish SpeciesApril 09, 2008 15:34 NOAA considers case to protect five Puget Sound rockfish species
Wed, Apr 09, 2008
NOAA Fisheries is assembling a team of biologists to examine the decline of five Rockfish species in the Puget Sound and determine if it should formally propose listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The assessment follows the acceptance of a petition filed by a Washington citizen. There is evidence that the bocaccio, canary rockfish, yelloweye rockfish, greenstripe rockfish and redstripe rockfish species are much reduced from historical levels. Harvests during the 1970s and 1980s reduced stocks to very low levels. But, the fisheries agency added, there is little information regarding their present abundance. Although these rockfishes once were sought as sportfish, they are now occasionally caught only accidentally in fish harvests directed at other species.

A formal proposal by NOAA's Fisheries Service – to be completed as early as fall would be followed by a year-long period of peer review, public comment and public hearings before any final decision about an official listing could be made.

 
  Noaa To Study Ice Seals For Endangered Species ListingApril 09, 2008 15:34 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service has accepted a petition from a California environmental group seeking protection under the Endangered Species Act for an ice seal called the "ribbon seal" that inhabits Alaska's Bering Sea.

"In addition reviewing the ribbon seal, we are also preparing status reviews on bearded, spotted and ringed seals for possible listing," said Doug Mecum, acting administrator for the Alaska Region of the Fisheries Service. "While the four species of ice seals in Alaska all utilize various types of sea ice habitats, they use the ice in different ways. Therefore, careful status reviews of each species is warranted."

The Fisheries Service has until the end of this year to prepare a status review and make a decision whether to list the ribbon seals. Status reviews of the other three species of ice seals will be completed after the ribbon seal review.
  Wolverine NewsApril 06, 2008 21:38 Let’s call him Wally — Wally Wolverine, or “W” for short — because Wally’s gender is about all scientists now know about the creature discovered more than a month ago north of Truckee.

After some 85 years without hide nor hair of a wolverine in the Sierra Nevada, W’s appearance — he was caught on a remote sensor research camera seeking out martens — caused quite the stir amongst scientists, wildlife enthusiasts and, apparently, more than a few skeptics.

Because consensus among experts was that wolverines were a thing of the past in the Sierra, the chance that a population of the apparently — and key word here, unofficially — endangered species exists could have far-reaching implications.
Land-use decisions by the U.S. Forest Service on things like timber harvesting to recreational activities would have to factor in the effects of those activities on wolverine habitat if the animal were officially deemed endangered.

Anyone who sported a bumper sticker on his or her vehicle in the early ‘90s espousing the use of spotted owls rather than toilet paper made from trees would understandably jump to the conclusion that W’s prime-time debut was a little suspect. After all, the research photo was made public in early March, a few weeks before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was set to review whether wolverines should be placed on the endangered species list.

Despite the bomb W dropped on scientists and those who love the forest for, albeit, differing reasons, a couple of photographs does not an endangered species make. W could well be someone’s furry pampered captive wolverine pup who grew up to be an obstinate 40-pound carnivore. At that point, it would have been time to let W free out in the forest near Truckee.

From where W actually hails — is he a local or accidental tourist? — is a mystery scientists are trying to solve.

Meanwhile, another batch of federal officials, this time at Fish and Wildlife, decided mid-March that even though just 500 to 600 wolverines now survive in a few places in the lower 48 states — not including California — they do not warrant endangered species protections. That’s because, according to Fish and Wildlife, wolverine populations retain strong connections to larger ones in Canada and Alaska and could survive even if they disappeared entirely from the contiguous United States.
  New Heat On Bush Environment ChiefApril 06, 2008 21:33 Amid new calls for the resignation of George W. Bush's top environment official, 12 states and 11 non-profit groups went to court this week accusing the Bush administration of refusing to comply with an environmental order handed down a year ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"It has been a full year since the Supreme Court declared that greenhouse gases are pollutants which should be regulated by the federal government, but the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has refused to grant California's waiver that would allow us and 19 other states to improve our quality of life by setting tougher vehicle emissions levels," California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

"The authority of states to address greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles has been clearly and unequivocally supported -- by the Supreme Court, a federal court decision in Vermont, and in December by a federal court here in California. On this issue, the U.S. EPA has failed to lead, it has failed to follow the states' lead, and we are prepared to force it out of the way in order to protect the environment."

At issue is a decision called Massachusetts v. EPA, which was handed down on Apr. 2, 2007. Before that decision, the Bush administration had argued that it did not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and, even if it did have the authority, it was not required to do so.

In response, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the EPA does have the authority to regulate heat trapping gases under the Clean Air Act, and that, if the EPA was not going to do so, it must articulate a compelling scientific reason.
  Bush Policy: Quick Border Fence Trumps The EnvironmentApril 04, 2008 09:39 The "Environmental President" strikes again...

Fear not, America: the Bush administration is not giving up on its immigrant-blocking border fence.

On Tuesday, it declared that it's going to ignore some 30 environmental laws and regulations in order to accelerate its project to build a wall separating the United States from Mexico. Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, issued the order, with an ominous warning. "Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation," he said. Cutting through the legal red tape "will enable important security projects to keep moving forward."

Like fear-mongering, flouting the law is part of the daily grind in the Bush administration -- but in this case, Chertoff is doing nothing illegal. The power to waive the law in the name of national security was granted to him specifically by Congress in 2005. The "REAL ID Act," passed as a rider to an Iraq funding bill, declared that the head of the Department of Homeland Security could waive any laws standing in the way of "expeditious construction of … barriers and roads" along the border.

It was not the first time Chertoff has invoked such a waiver -- DHS has used them before to push through fencing in Arizona and San Diego -- but it was definitely his most sweeping order to date. It advances DHS's proposal to erect towers and high-tech surveillance equipment along a sprawling 470-mile span of the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Originally, such action was supposed to be a last resort, but, as Tuesday's order demonstrates, this is hardly proving to be the case.
  Agreement Postpones Killing Of Sea Lions At Oregon DamApril 02, 2008 11:30 The authorized killing of California sea lions at a dam on the Columbia River would be postponed under a proposal reached Tuesday by the Humane Society of the United States and federal and state governments.

The Humane Society filed a motion March 28 seeking a preliminary injunction against the authorization for killing the animals and said it would seek a temporary restraining order if it wasn't granted by Friday, the earliest date the "lethal removal" was likely to begin.

Those favoring the removal say the sea lions are damaging salmon runs listed under the Endangered Species Act and protected at great expense.

The states estimate the sea lions eat up to about 4 percent of the spring chinook run as it schools at the base of the Bonneville Dam to pass through fish ladders en route to upriver spawning grounds.

The Humane Society contends the animals are only a small, although visible, pressure on the health of the runs and that the required "significant negative impact" hasn't been established.

The proposal, sent Tuesday to U.S. District Court in Portland, would delay the killing authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service until the court could rule on the request for the preliminary injunction.

Both parties asked the court for a hearing on the preliminary injunction request before April 18. Nonlethal removal of the animals to authorized permanent facilities such as zoos or marine theme parks would be allowed.
  Three Wolves Killed In Wyoming Within Days Of Protection RemovalApril 02, 2008 08:54 WTF is wrong with these idiots? Oooo... the big bad wolf is going to eat all the elk I'd like to hunt... This just makes me angry.

Wyoming hunters and ranchers killed at least three gray wolves within the first three days of the animals' removal from the federal endangered species list, local and state wildlife officials said.
Wyoming, Montana and Idaho took over management of wolves within their borders on Friday as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended protection of the animals under the Endangered Species Act.

Two wolves, a male and a female, were killed Friday near an elk feedground in the Pinedale area in Sublette County, said Eric Keszler, spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Scott Talbott, the Game and Fish official overseeing Wyoming's new wolf management program, said one of the wolves was wearing a tracking collar.

Also Friday, a rancher killed a wolf on his property because he'd been having problems with a wolf harassing his livestock, said Cat Urbigkit, a member of the Sublette County Predator Board.

All three wolves were killed in Wyoming's predator zone, where people are now allowed to kill wolves at any time and for any reason as long as they report the time, location and sex of each kill to the state within 10 days. The animals are still protected as a trophy species in Wyoming's northwestern corner.

“There has been a lot of excitement and interest for hunters in Sublette County,” Urbigkit said. “The predator board has nothing to do with that, but if the hunters are successful in their efforts, then hopefully the predator boards will not be called in on conflicts.”

Wyoming is home to 25 wolf packs living outside of Yellowstone National Park, and seven of those live in the predator area. Wildlife officials have said that most of the 30 to 35 wolves living outside the trophy game zone live in adjoining Sublette County.

Terry Pollard, co-owner of Bald Mountain Outfitters in Pinedale, said he heard reports of many locals going wolf hunting over the weekend, but most didn't make any kills.

“I think they're finding just what we figured,” Pollard said. “These wolves are an extremely tough animal to hunt. There was a significant amount of hunters out this weekend, and very few of them were taken.”

Mike Leahy, Rocky Mountain regional director of Defenders of Wildlife, said it's hard to know how many wolves were killed over the weekend because hunters have 10 days to report kills within the predator zone.

“In a shoot-on-sight zone, a large number of the wolves could be killed before Wyoming Game and Fish or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service even knows about it,” Leahy said. “There could be big impacts to the wolf population that go underreported until it's too late.”

Defenders of Wildlife is one of several groups that has filed notice of their intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service to retain Endangered Species Act protections for the wolves. Leahy said it's too early to know whether the group will seek an emergency injunction against the federal delisting decision.
  Appeals Court Upholds Ruling On Keys Endangered SpeciesApril 02, 2008 06:53 A federal appeals panel has upheld a ruling barring issuance of flood insurance for new development in endangered species habitat of the Florida Keys.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Tuesday with a 2005 decision by a Miami federal judge. The National Wildlife Federation and other groups contended since 1990 that the issuance of flood insurance policies for new development failed to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

The endangered species include the Florida Key deer, Key Largo cotton mouse and Stock Island tree snail. Two federal agencies appealed the original decision.

Federal officials said the ruling has no impact on existing flood insurance policyholders in the Keys.