For Immediate Release, January 4, 2013
Contact: Noah Greenwald, (971) 717-6403
Judges Reject Safari Club's Challenge to Historic Species Agreement
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today denied a challenge by Safari Club International of the historic agreement reached between the Center for Biological Diversity and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to speed protection decisions for 757 species around the country. The court found that Safari Club lacked standing, in part because the agreement, in requiring timely action to protect species, is clearly consistent with the Endangered Species Act.
“This species agreement assures timely decisions about protecting some of the nation’s most imperiled wildlife, so we’re relieved the Court of Appeals upheld it,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This historic agreement is already making a difference for America’s wildlife by protecting dozens of species that have been waiting for protection for years.”
The species agreement reached in 2011 has, to date, yielded Endangered Species Act protection for 53 animals and plants, and proposed protection of another 63, including the Miami blue butterfly, lesser prairie chicken, Austin blind salamander, streaked horned lark and many more.
The Safari Club, a pro-hunting group, argued that delay of protection for species that their members may want to hunt, including the New England cottontail rabbit, gives it a concrete interest in having the settlement agreement denied, but the court concluded that this interest runs directly counter to the statute and therefore gives them no basis for objection.
“The Safari Club’s challenge was out of step with the American public that overwhelmingly supports protecting wildlife from extinction,” said Greenwald.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.