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Find out more from the Center for Biological Diversity:
Litigating Political Corruption
The Desert Sun, January 15, 2009

Group files multiple suits over endangered species

The Center for Biological Diversity filed seven separate lawsuits on Wednesday saying the Bush administration has reduced the designation of critical habitat for 18 endangered species, including three kinds of plants in the Coachella Valley.

“Eight years of the Bush administration has been a disaster for the nation's endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, biodiversity program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Bush administration has engineered drastic reductions in critical habitat for many species, including 18 covered by today's lawsuits, according to a press release. These reductions involved excluding large areas from critical habitat that were identified as essential to the survival or recovery of endangered species by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists, the center said.

Three desert plants threatened by development are the Coachella Valley milk-vetch, Peirson's milk-vetch and the willowy monardella. Both milk-vetch occupy sand dunes. The monardella occurs in and around areas that get occasional moisture. Habitat for the Coachella Valley milk-vetch was reduced from 20,559 acres to zero acres, for the Peirson's milk-vetch from 16,108 acres to 12,105 acres, and for the willowy monardella from 2,539 acres to 77 acres, according to the center.

Other species mentioned in the suits are the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Arkansas River shiner, Riverside fairy shrimp and 12 Texas invertebrates.

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