Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 17, 2018

Contact: Elise Bennett, (727) 755-6950,

Lawsuit Seeks Documents on Huge Toyota Factory's Threat to Endangered Alabama Fish

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to turn over documents on the impacts of Toyota and Mazda building a massive factory directly adjacent to one of only two populations of the critically endangered Spring Pygmy Sunfish outside of Huntsville, Alabama.

“If the Fish and Wildlife Service stands by its claims that massive industrial development won’t harm these pretty little fish, it should fork over the supporting documents,” said Elise Bennett, staff attorney at the Center. “This auto factory could completely exterminate the sunfish, but it’s apparently moving forward without the required environmental review. The public has a right to know why.”    

The spring pygmy sunfish has been eliminated from two of three spring complexes it was known to occupy and now lives in approximately six miles and 1,435 acres of spring pools and associated wetlands around the Beaverdam Spring and Creek watershed.

In January, Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. announced plans to build a massive automobile manufacturing plant west of Huntsville and adjacent to the Beaverdam Spring and Creek complex. As soon as 2021, the 2,400-acre site will house two manufacturing lines producing up to 300,000 cars annually. The plant will come with enormous amounts of new roads, buildings and parking lots, which will impact water quality and disrupt water flow to the springs where the rare fish lives. Without proper minimization and mitigation, the spring pygmy sunfish could be pushed to extinction.

“The spring pygmy sunfish needs clean springs and flowing creeks,” said Bennett. “It’s hard to see how this factory can be built so close to its habitat without harming the species. It’s Fish and Wildlife’s job to ensure this fish’s survival, but agency officials appear to have fallen down on the job.”

The Center petitioned to protect the spring pygmy sunfish under the Endangered Species Act in 2009. In 2013 the Fish and Wildlife Service protected the sunfish as a threatened species and proposed protections for eight stream miles and 1,617 acres of spring pool and spring-influenced critical habitat in Limestone County, Ala.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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