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Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion


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Eagle editorial: Prairie chicken plan misguided (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 07/18/14)
"Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for the state to raise and release lesser prairie chickens didn’t help his argument that Kansas should be trusted to protect the threatened species. It’s hard to be taken seriously when scientists are laughing.... “It’s almost impossible to conceive how someone could violate the rule other than by deliberately going out and shooting a chicken,” said Jason Rylander, a staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, one of three environmental groups that are suing for more aggressive protections of the birds."

Editorial: Bison talks must stay cooperative (Bozeman Daily Chonicle [MT], 07/18/14)
"Members of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Bison Discussion Group are to be commended....The very idea of establishing a wild bison population has met bitter resistance from landowners and ranchers ... even those who live in areas where bison are introduced stand to benefit, with new economic opportunities stemming from ecotourism."

Editorial: A condor is born, and Utah is a little better place; New Utahn is an old friend. (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 07/17/14)
"For the first time in decades, a California condor has hatched in Utah.... this is just the tale of what happens when one species takes on the task of preserving another for no other reason than to continue the vast tapestry of living things on the planet. Call it a vulture of diversity."

Editorial: Don't mess with Texas' big cranes; Leadership needed to spearhead protection of the state's environment and wildlife. (Houston Chronicle, 07/11/14)
"The extinction scenario for the most famous avian residents of the Texas coast is not farfetched. And anyone who has marveled at the majesty of the 5-foot-tall birds foraging for blue crabs in their wintering grounds at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport has to be saddened by the June 30 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel said that U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack abused discretion in finding that 23 cranes had died because of a disruption to their habitat."

Editorial - Any change to monitoring requirement must protect shorebirds (Wilmington Star-News [NC] , 07/08/14)
"The federal and state agencies involved in those discussions must ensure that any changes allowed do not weaken protections for the birds and their nests....Among them are the American oystercatcher, the least tern, the black skimmer and the piping plover, which is considered a threatened species."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Loss of pest control is the real scary bat story; A mysterious fungus that is spreading through the region is good news only for mosquitoes. (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 07/07/14)
"The threat of extinction, to one or more bat species, is very real in North America, biologists say. One bat can consume thousands of insects in a night. Their loss could trigger an increase in not only mosquitoes and black flies, but other pests as well. That could, in turn, ease the transmission of insect-borne disease. The impact on agriculture could be great, as well, with some researchers putting the toll in the billions of dollars nationwide."

Editorial: Don't weaken manatee protections (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 07/07/14)
"There is no justification for the federal government to downgrade the protected status of the Florida manatee. It might make it easier for irresponsible boaters and builders to abuse their privileges on the public waterways. But the move would be terrible for the species and send the wrong message about Florida's natural resources. If anything, the state and federal governments should do more to protect these habitats."

Mercury News editorial: Senate should kill plan to increase use of lead ammo (San Jose Mercury News [CA] , 07/04/14)
"The health risk to national treasures such as the bald eagle is too high for the NRA and like-minded factions to get their way. Congress should follow California's lead and allow the EPA to regulate lead ammunition as responsible scientific study dictates."

EDITORIAL: Our View: GOP: Go to Moscow, Come Back to Reality (Times-News [ID] , 06/11/14)
"Put plainly, the “establishment vs. tea party” spat is destroying Idaho. That’s the problem with a one-party state. If the dominant party goes off the rails, the entire thing falls down. Idaho’s GOP is too busy arguing about the important stuff, like ... spending mountains of cash on a doomed-but-pandering bid to somehow “take back” federal lands that Idaho never actually owned.... And let’s not forget about the wolves. Showing how much they’re hated, we mean really hated, is worth a heap of money, too. The pesky school children can do more with less."... Enough with the absurd initiatives only designed to make “statements.” Enough with the lunacy."

EDITORIAL: Overdue call to environmental accountability (Tennessean, 06/06/14)
"The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations for limiting carbon emissions from electric power plants, announced this week, were sure to be met with criticism since an alarming percentage of the American public still doubts that man-made climate change is occurring, and in fact accelerating.... ennessee and the entire country must do more to reduce carbon emissions — and on a dramatically larger scale than anything we have yet seen....verage Americans are seeing the results of this inaction in severe weather events, and scientists are seeing the long-term damage, as well, in glacier melt, species extinctions and more....his is a nation of 318 million people that must change its habits, and soon."

Editorial: Roses and Raspberries: June 6 (Corvallis Gazette-Times [OR], 06/06/14)
"Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio noted the downside: OR-7 needs our help: “This is great news, but the critical federal protections that have allowed OR-7 to start his new pack are in jeopardy. As we celebrate OR-7 and his new family, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is threatening to disregard science and take the gray wolf off the Endangered Species list. If the Service delists the gray wolf, states could declare open season on gray wolves like OR-7, his mate, and these new pups.” We agree with the 160,000 people who have signed their names to a petition asking the USFWS and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to continue protections for the gray wolf."

Editorial: EPA emission rules a good, but not great, step forward (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 06/03/14)
"Some scientists argue that mankind is in the middle of what, in geologic time, will be the “Sixth Extinction.” Not too many generations hence, they say, significant numbers of the Earth’s species will be eliminated as a result of catastrophic climate change.... both Sens. McConnell, 72, and Blunt, 64, will be dead and gone when the global warming bill comes due. In the meantime, they can pander to donors and voters and keep their jobs.... If we don’t lead, why should the world act? If the world doesn’t act, our grandchildren’s children will curse our names."

Eagle editorial: At least legislative session is over (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 05/06/14)
"Unfortunately, the session went wrong more often than not, including ... by trying to nullify federal law regarding the threatened status of the lesser prairie chicken."

Editorial: Brewer vetoes show leadership down the middle (Arizona Daily Sun, 04/24/14)
"As we have noted before, though, much of the anti-federalist rhetoric coming from the far right has more to do with specific policies they oppose, not uncompensated costs or federal meddling. Arizona can hardly complain about the federal dams and water projects on which the state was built, and it continues to get back in federal aid far more than its residents and businesses pay into the federal treasury in taxes. So when it comes to giving ranchers permission to kill wolves or forcing the federal government to pony up for a cattle compensation fund to be administered by the state, Brewer got to the point in her veto message: Just because lawmakers want to allow endangered wolves to be killed on federal lands doesn’t give them the power to override federal law — it’s an expensive lawsuit waiting to happen."

Editorial: Gov. Brewer's pen is mightier than bad bills; Our View: Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoes are in our best interests (Arizona Republic, 04/23/14)
"The bills squashed were more about ideological overkill than any attempt at good policy making. … A bill that would have let ranchers kill endangered Mexican gray wolves by putting them in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears was all about some ranchers' continued opposition to a federal reintroduction effort under the Endangered Species Act. Brewer's veto letter on SB 1211 said the state "simply does not have the power" to override federal protections for wolves. This bill was about putting a finger in Uncle Sam's eye. It was not necessary."

Mercury News editorial: Feinstein bill risks further damage to Delta (San Jose Mercury News [CA] , 04/21/14)
"House Republicans are demanding that any drought legislation roll back crucial environmental protections and end the San Joaquin River restoration project. They act as if these rules are all about helping fish, but keeping the river system healthy is critical for people who rely on its water."

Editorial: The high cost of climate change denial (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 04/18/14)
"Prolonged droughts. Melting ice caps. Heat waves and deep freezes. Rising oceans. Increased flooding. Endangered species going extinct. Expect more of this and then some — a threatened global food supply, for example — if climate change is left unchecked.... Here in Texas, research predicts rising sea levels that will cause environmental havoc through flooding, salinity and erosion... Many of Texas' most prominent leaders have been particularly shortsighted on climate change."

Editorial: Help, don’t hurt, the birds (Daily Iberian [New Iberia, LA], 04/17/14)
"The whooping cranes are an endangered species. They have a place in Louisiana’s landscape just as many other species of animals. Just as humans were a contributing factor to its disappearance, so too will humans need to be a contributing factor to its return and repopulate here."

Editorial: Dianne Feinstein’s water bill is an overreach (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 04/17/14)
"One provision would lock in a specific inflow-export ratio to allow more water transfers to contractors south of the Delta from April 1 through May 31, regardless of water availability. This, of course, is the time that salmon and steelhead are migrating to the ocean. Feinstein should fix this provision by allowing agency experts to change the ratio depending on real-time water availability. The other provision talks about complying with endangered species law for some fish, but not for salmon and steelhead, which are on their way to extinction. Feinstein has said her goal is to protect fisheries. She should make that clear in the legislation. People whose livelihoods depend on salmon fisheries have been hurt by drought as much as Westside growers. In the past, Feinstein has said it is important to avoid seeking “gains for certain water users at the expense of others” or abandoning “fundamental state and federal environmental laws.” To make actions match words, she should fix the two provisions."

Editorial: Turning our backs to global warming (Virginian-Pilot, 04/16/14)
"It will come as no surprise to Hampton Roads and Virginia, but Washington isn't doing enough to help limit global warming.... Given that our region is one of America's most vulnerable places (Miami and New Orleans face comparable or worse risks), Washington's legislative impotence carries an especially high potential price here.... The latest IPCC report argues that if the world wants to meet its goal of holding global warming under a dangerous threshold, it better get started now replacing fossil fuels with alternatives, including efficiency and power generation from wind, solar, tides. Otherwise, the IPCC report says, the world should ready for rising seas, disappearing species and more severe storms and flooding."

Editorial OUR OPINION: Heed bird-advocacy groups on wind (Grand Forks Herald [ND], 04/13/14)
"Wind power’s percentage of America’s energy production is sure to increase. With that in mind, developers and regulators should follow the conservation groups’ guidelines, because minimizing wind turbines’ impact on birds is in the best interests of us all."

Editorial: OUR VIEW | CLIMATE CHANGE: Options for climate change are on the table; now, U.S. must take lead (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 04/12/14)
"Climate change is already here; denying that is to deny reality..... coral reefs are already dying and fish and many other creatures are already migrating toward the poles or in some cases becoming extinct.... The economic threat posed by climate change far outweighs the economic discomfort of adjusting to meet it. And it poses a security threat to the United States."

Op-ed: Will sage grouse go the way of the lesser prairie-chicken (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 04/11/14)
Ed Arnett And Terry Riley: "As wildlife biologists, hunters, and conservationists, we watched closely as the fate of the lesser prairie-chicken unfolded on March 27 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the medium-sized game bird as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.... the lesser prairie-chicken can be restored and eventually de-listed if responsible conservation practices are followed. We also can avert the need to list as threatened or endangered another once-abundant game bird, the greater sage grouse, if conservation practices are embraced."

Editorial: Politicians and the lesser prairie chicken (Winfield Daily Courier [KS] , 04/10/14)
"The federal Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. Robin Jennison of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says this is premature. But anyone who has watched or hunted prairie chickens over the past 60 years knows their decline is not just a result of recent droughts — as Jennison claims.... Instead of spending a lot of taxpayers’ money to sue the federal government over this long-delayed designation, our elected leaders should get behind the plan and actually try to preserve the lesser prairie chicken."

Editorial: BLM plans better wild horse controls (Bend Bulletin [OR], 04/09/14)
"It has a long way to go to completion, but the proposed 2015 budget for the federal Bureau of Land Management contains good news for Central Oregon. The agency will increase spending on wild horse management, and it will continue its efforts to improve sage grouse habitat in an effort to forestall the bird’s listing under the Endangered Species Act."

Editorial: Climate change is here, now (Milford Daily News [MA], 04/05/14)
"Animals are migrating toward areas of cooler temperatures nearer the poles. The mountain snowpack in the Western United States is diminishing, reducing the country's water supply. Coral reefs, which shelter a quarter of the ocean's species, are bleaching - losing the algae that color them, causing their death over time."

Guest commentary: Levee vegetation is saving taxpayers and the environment (Contra Costa Times [CA] , 04/05/14)
John Gioia, member, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and president, California State Association of Counties: "The recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' interim decision allowing local levee management agencies to leave trees and other vegetation on levees is a major win for local residents, taxpayers and the environment. Many areas of California, including Contra Costa, rely on levees for flood protection. We now need to keep working to make sure this interim decision becomes permanent law.... In some cases, the Corps even required a local agency to remove trees and other vegetation that provided habitat for an endangered species -- a true Catch-22."

Editorial: Climate change is here, but action lags (News & Observer [NC], 04/05/14)
"A report last week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group, gave a stark picture of what is happening. ... “Many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change.” ... Frustrated by obstructionists in Congress, President Obama has had to act through his executive authority to curb greenhouse gases. He recently announced a specific plan to reduce methane gas releases using his authority under the Clean Air Act. ... As a center of science, education and technology, North Carolina should be leading the way in debating and discovering what state and local governments can do to subdue the threat that is already upon us."

Editorial: Climate change to force us to change (Virginian-Pilot, 04/03/14)
"Despite the constant foment from professional skeptics in America, global warming isn't in serious doubt among the vast majority of the world's scientists or policymakers. That's good. As a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear this week, the world is running out of time to ignore the implications of mankind's impact on the planet.... Coastal flooding will be especially devastating in countries that depend on the oceans and seas for subsistence living, and in places like Hampton Roads subject to everyday disruptions from storm-driven waters.... Animals' ranges and migration patterns have changed. A few are being driven to extinction. Acidifying seas - caused by increased carbon dioxide absorption - are putting new pressures on some species. ... It will take generations to reverse the damage done to the climate. Rather than an argument to do nothing, it's an argument to begin - right now - to change our ways."