Groups seek court's protection for jumping mouse
Five environmental organizations filed suit in federal court for Colorado Tuesday to undo the Bush administration's decision to rollback protections for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse and other endangered species.
The groups are Center for Native Ecosystems in Denver, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Laramie, Wyo., Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City, the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz., and the Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C.
Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled the mouse would be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in Colorado, where it faces threats from urban growth.
But in Wyoming, where the rodent lives in agricultural counties with less strain from human population pressure, the mouse is no longer protected as a threatened species, under the ruling.
The mouse had been protected in both states since 1998. Bush administration rules have also weakened protections for the gray wolf, Gunnison's prairie dog, and Queen Charlotte goshawk, the groups claim.
"Endangered species around the country are losing protections while this illegal move by the Bush administration stands," Erin Robertson, senior staff biologist with Center for Native Ecosystems, said in a statement. "The fate of the mouse is important, but there is much more at stake."
The groups are represented by Eric Glitzenstein of Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest law firm, and Mike Harris of the University of Denver Environmental Law Clinic.
Copyright 2009 The Denver Post
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