The federal government backed off its endangered species threat a few years ago to list a couple of flowering plants that just so happen to grow over oil shale deposits.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) relented partly because the plants weren’t as rare as originally thought, mostly because Colorado and Utah banded together to prevent the bureaucratic kiss-of-death by sacrificing 44,000 acres as a safe haven for the pretty little buds.
Check out the ranching and energy sector livelihoods that were threatened with extinction by the proposed listing of Graham’s and White River beardtongues.
The plants “live almost exclusively in areas targeted for unconventional oil shale and tar sands mining and traditional oil and gas drilling. Energy development, along with livestock grazing and trampling, small population size, invasive weeds, and climate change, threaten the beardtongues with extinction.
Not just public lands either, but private land. So you can see why state and local stakeholders bellied up the bar quickly to strike a preservation deal.
But environmentalists don’t want preservation, they want to kill ranching and energy development, so they filed a lawsuit Thursday to undo the deal.
From the Denver Business Journal:
“The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to make decisions based on science, not politics,” said Megan Mueller, senior biologist with Rocky Mountain Wild, one of the groups behind the suit. “The science here is clear, these wildflowers must be protected from strip mining and drilling.”
But here’s what caught our attention in the lawsuit:
“The Court held that FWS failed to consider the best available science on threats and improperly relied on speculative, future conservation measures to protect the beardtongue.”
Well then, we certainly understand why enviros would not want to rely on speculative, future conservation measures to protect a species, when they have the Endangered Species Act that relies on speculative, future conservation measures to kill jobs in the name of species protection.