Bald eagles ruled naked

On October 2, 2010, in news, by admin

by Hugh Holub on Oct. 02, 2010, under environment water and energyland use,politics

A federal judge ruled that Arizona’s population of bald eagles was ruled not be to endangered. Thus they are naked from protection by the US Fish & Wildlife Service(USF&WS).

Not surprisingly the Tucson based Center for Biological Diversity is threatening to sue the feds over the decision.

Here is a little context to work with:

There are all kinds of critters found in Arizona which are also found in other parts of the United States…and even Mexico in some specific cases.

At issue with the bald eagle fight was whether or not the population of bald eagles found in Arizona was sufficiently genetically distinct to be separately eligible for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The federal court said the evidence did not support any genetic distinction. In other words, a bald eagle in Alaska or Montana is the same species.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other similar groups like the Western Watersheds Project and  Wild Earth Gaurdians are famous for having a pretty clear agenda of trying to block any new uses of public lands (such as the Rosemont mine) , and also trying to run existing land users (such as ranchers) off public lands. CBD recently went after an  El Paso Natural Gas pipeline project. For example of the scope of activity see CBD’s press page.

Their main tools are the Endangered Species Act and truckloads of legal actions against federal agencies to try and force these agencies into submission to CBD’s and WWP’s agenda.

A common theme, speciallyof CBD’s claims, are the allegedly endangered species can only be protected by preserving Arizona’s riparian habitats, and that preseveration of habitat requires kicking ranchers off the range as well and preventing every other land and water use that may be  in conflict with the preservation of the natural habitat.

Far be it for anyone to point out that cows and eagles have cohabited these areas for several hundred years.

One of the devices used in this fight is to claim that a critter found in Arizona is a separate subspecies and thus entitled to federal protection. Thus Arizona’s eagles  were claimed to be different than Montana’s eagles.

The same argument has been made over the pygmy owl…these little owls are common in Mexico…but it was alleged that the Arizona population is different. Maybe they don’t speak Spanish?

The courts also ruled the pygmy owl in Arizona did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

There are a lot of critters found all over the place besides Arizona…and in many cases the Arizona portion of their habitat is on the edge of their main range.  Whether or not there is a population of pygmy owls or bald eagles in Arizona does not endanger the entire species.

But as a tool to challenge various land uses in Arizona like ranching, it makes great press to claim Arizona’s eagles or pygmy owls are threatened with extinction.

The eagle story from the Arizona Republic:.


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