Group sues US over species protection
ALBUQUERQUE - An environmental group is suing the federal government, saying the Obama administration has failed to address a backlog of animals and plants that need to be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
WildEarth Guardians said in a lawsuit filed yesterday that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has failed to carry out his duties under the act and that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to act on a petition seeking protection for two rare plants, a jackrabbit, and a salamander found in the Southwest.
The Obama administration has issued only two findings under the Endangered Species Act despite a backlog of more than 300 species that are candidates for protection, said Nicole Rosmarino, the organization's wildlife program director. "Maybe they're just late coming out of the gate, but the ones that pay the price for a delay are these species that are on the brink," she said.
The Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service cited policy in declining to comment on the pending litigation.