ESA lawsuits: fair and balanced

Environmental litigants seem to be a favorite target these days of both Congressional hearings and criticism on this blog.  So after reading (here) about a recent lawsuit that led to DE-listing of species, I decided to look into what these anti-environmental plaintiffs were trying to accomplish with it.  What we have (here) is an exact mirror image of the litigation strategy to list species under ESA, and the same reason they won – failure to meet deadlines.

In this example, plaintiff’s reasons for de-listing have nothing to do with the species or restrictions resulting from the listing.  The species will still be protected.  As the other article says, the lawsuit was merely “symbolic.”  Harassment maybe.  Now wasn’t defending against it a good use of our tax dollars?

Just saying – it’s ok to talk about whether limiting litigation is a good idea, but let’s not suggest that judicial review inherently favors any particular position.


3 thoughts on “ESA lawsuits: fair and balanced”

  1. Mmm . As a fellow devil’s advocate always enjoy Jon’s posts and more often than not agree with him.

    It has been my experience and remains my opinion that impugning the motives of those we disagree with , whether true or not, is almost always counterproductive.

    Trying to accurately describe behaviors is difficult enough. Interpreting motives is a slippery slope indeed:)

    All the best


  2. Jon

    How do you conclude that the plaintiffs were “anti-environmental plaintiffs” when the USFWS consistently concluded over 20 years that the plants should be DE-listed and “all the petition did was ask the Service to follow its own recommendation to delist” because the plants were recovered (as stated in your second link)? If nothing should be DE-listed after being recovered then, by your logic, shouldn’t everything be listed? It’s either recovered or it isn’t. By your logic, even the ESA is anti-environment since it provides for DE-listing of recovered species.

    The reason that the plaintiffs won was not “failure to meet deadlines”. The reason they won was because the USFWS recommended DE-listing. They would not have won if the USFWS had opposed DE-listing. How can you possibly say “plaintiff’s reasons for de-listing have nothing to do with the species”? The USFWS recommendation to DE-list has everything to do with the species.

  3. The USFWS recommendation to de-list the species has everything to do with the species.

    The motive of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is evidently to “defend the fundamental human right of private property; to promote sensible environmental policies that respect individual freedom and put people first” (from the PLF website, and I don’t think I am the first characterize their ‘sensible environmental policies’ as ‘anti-environmental’ – though that characterization may not fit this case). I think it is fair to impugn this motive when the lawsuit does not involve private property or reduce restrictions on human use of the national park (unless their motive is to then get rid of the national park).

    Both lawsuits were filed, according to PLF’s website, because FWS missed procedural deadlines.


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