Monday, April 09, 2007

Assault on the Manatee

With the Bush assault on the Endangered Species Act comes an attempt to relax protections for the Florida manatee. It is now contemplated that the endangered designation will be reduced to threatened, thereby opening habitat areas to development.

According to a March 26, 2007 briefing paper from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) labeled “White House Report,” the FWS is preparing a recommendation to downgrade or “down-list” the manatee from its present “endangered” status to “threatened” under the Federal Endangered Species Act. This change will reduce protections against the “taking” of manatees and facilitate construction of more marinas and other development in critical coastal habitat areas.

And this bullseye for the following commenter:

“A federal reclassification at this time could undermine our chances of securing the manatee’s future in the face of exploding human population growth and shrinking aquatic habitat in Florida,” stated Patrick Rose, an aquatic biologist who is Save the Manatee Club’s executive director. “With the price of coastal land skyrocketing, regulations protecting manatees are seen as standing in the way of even more extensive development of Florida’s coastline.”

The old riddle about the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object has new meaning here. There is no unmovable object when it comes to rewarding business interests, at least as long as Bushco remains in power.

“This reclassification comes at the worst possible time for the manatee when record numbers are dying and threats to their long-term survival are increasing,” Rose concluded. “This move to down list manatees is politically driven, is not legally defensible, and is certainly not motivated by concern for the survival of the manatee.”

The above PEER links provide considerable information.


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