Subject: FW: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #57


Subject: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #57

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           SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #57
                                            3/19/97          

         SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
                       silver city, tucson, phoenix, san diego
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1. CRIMINAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR & ARMY
   CORPS OF ENGINEERS
    - POLITICS THREATENED CA SPECIES AND TOWNS WITH FLOODING
    - CEQ HEAD AND CA CONGRESSMAN MAY ALSO BE IMPLICATED

2.  SETTLEMENT REACHED IN "NO SURPRISES" SUIT-
    PUBLIC WILL BE GIVEN CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE

3.  SUPREME COURT GIVES ANTI-ENVIROS RIGHT TO USE E.S.A. AGAINST SPECIES-
    LITTLE IMPACT EXPECTED

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CRIMINAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR & ARMY CORPS
OF ENGINEERS
  - POLITICS THREATENED CA SPECIES AND TOWNS WITH FLOODING
  - CEQ HEAD AND CA CONGRESSMAN MAY ALSO BE IMPLICATED

On March 19, 1997, the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity
filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. Attorney General against
Undersecretary of Interior Jon Garamandi, the Kern River
Watermaster, and two Colonels at the Army Corps of Engineers in
Sacramento, CA.  Numerous documents were presented demonstrating
that they defrauded the American government and violated the
Endangered Species Act in 1995 and again in 1996 by drowning the
habitat of the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher and the
Valley longhorn elderberry beetle at Lake Isabella in Kern County,
CA.

CA Congressman Calvin Dooley and Katie McGinty, head of the
Council on Environmental Quality may also be implicated.

Lake Isabella is supposed to be kept at moderate levels in order to
provide flood control protection from downstream Bakersfield.
Agribusiness interests and the Army Corps of Engineers, however,
regularly fill the dam to illegal levels to provide cheap, federally
subsidized irrigation water. This threatens Bakersfield with flooding.
In 1995, the Army Corps illegally killed at least ten flycatchers at
seven nest sites. In 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attempted
to make Army Corps lower the lake to legal levels. Congressman
Calvin Dooley, Undersecretary Garamandi, the Kern River Water
Master, and Colonels at the Army Corps of Engineers illegally
intervened in the process, forcing Fish and Wildlife Service biologists
to fill the dam, inundating the endangered species habitat.

Congressmen Pombo and Herger (R, CA) meanwhile, have introduced
a bill to exempt dam construction and flood control maintenance from
the Endangered Species Act, claiming that the Elderberry Beetle is the
cause of recent California flooding. The exact opposite is true:
protecting the beetle and flycatcher will protect towns such as
Bakersfield from being flooded out.


SETTLEMENT REACHED IN "NO SURPRISES" SUIT-
 PUBLIC WILL BE GIVEN CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE

Though there has been much debate about Republican efforts to
weaken the ESA and implement "No Surprises" and "Safe Harbors"
policies, many do not known that the Clinton Administration officially
adopted the No Surprises policy several years ago. The Spirit of the
Sage Council, the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, the
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, and Forest Guardians sued the Clinton
Administration for implementing the program without public notice,
comment, or involvement- a violation of the Administrative
Procedures Act.

Following court ordered settlement negotiations, the USFWS agreed to
solicit public comments via the Federal Register within 60 days,
establishing a 120 comment period. HCPs already issued under the No
Surprises policy may be challenged on substantive grounds. If the
FWS authorizes additional No Surprises based  HCPs during the
public comment period, it may be subject to further litigation. If the
FWS decides to reissue the policy again, it may be sued on substantive
grounds.


SUPREME COURT GIVES ANTI-ENVIROS RIGHT TO USE E.S.A. AGAINST SPECIES-
LITTLE IMPACT EXPECTED

The Supreme Court has ruled that anti-environmentalists may sue
under the Endangered Species Act with the intent of depriving species
and habitats of protection. The court rejected Fish and Wildlife Service
arguments that the Act could only be used for the benefit of
endangered species.

The Southwest Center believes all Americans should have equal access
to justice, regardless of intent. Judging by the wise-use movement's
recent loss in its attempt to delist the Mexican spotted owl and
prove it had been economically harmed by the listing of the owl under
the ESA, we do not expect the decision to have far reaching
conservation effects.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Kieran Suckling                                       ksuckling@sw-center.org
Executive Director                                    phone:  520-733-1391
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity        fax:    520-733-1404
POB 17839, Tucson, AZ 85731                      www.envirolink.org/orgs/sw-center