Editorials and Opinion
EDITORIAL Our view: Last flight of the monarch? (Roanoke Times [VA], 09/17/14)
"In the past 20 years, their numbers are down about 90 percent, with no end in sight, except maybe the same fate that befell the passenger pigeon. Extinction. The Monarch butterfly is a creature of sublime mystery that scientists have yet to figure out. ... The U.S. Interior Department is looking at whether to grant the butterfly “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act, which could lead to regulations that agribusiness might not like."
EDITORIAL: Defeating the need for speed (Santa Maria Times [CA], 09/17/14)
"Two important things are accomplished by getting cargo ships and tankers to slow down. One, they spew less greenhouse gasses into the air. As it turns out, cargo ships make a hefty contribution to air pollution along the Central Coast. Two, slowing down allows some of the channel’s larger inhabitants to get out of harm’s way. Research data show that whales have a much greater chance of surviving an encounter with a large ship, if that ship is traveling at a slower speed.... Some folks scoff at the protections afforded the western snowy plover at local beaches, saying it infringes on their right to use a public beach. On the other hand, we must all realize that once a species is wiped out, it’s gone forever, and whatever purpose it served in the network of life is lost forever."
Work together to protect birds and their habitats (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 09/16/14)
Michael Macek, curator of birds at the St. Louis Zoo: "26 percent of all U.S. bird species are in danger of extinction or at risk of becoming so.
In Missouri, species ranging from the barn owl and greater prairie chicken to the Swainson’s warbler and least bittern are now considered endangered. Most bird conservation issues in this region involve the loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitats."
Editorial: Restoration pays off in record salmon returns (Daily Astorian [OR], 09/15/14)
"[I]t must be noted that little of this would have been achieved without the strong pressure provided by the Endangered Species Act and the determined legal wits of federal Judge James Redden. And though the term “environmental group” is seldom one that engenders warm feelings in the rural Pacific Northwest, the advocacy and legal muscle provided by groups such as Earthjustice have been key in maintaining agency focus on salmon survival."
EDITORIAL: Our Opinion: Our self-healing planet (Brattleboro Reformer [VT], 09/12/14)
"Consider, for a moment, endangered species: After getting required support from humans, some animals that are considered endangered, and in some cases on the brink of extinction, are seemingly recovering from those threats they were facing.... thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf population, which was nearly wiped out in the 1930s, is up to 5,000 in the lower 48 states. In fact, the ESA has helped numerous species on the verge of extinction to recover, including the Aleutian Canada goose, the California least tern, the black-footed ferret, the American crocodile, the whooping crane and the shortnose sturgeon, to name a few.... Greenhouse gas is the main culprit behind climate change. ... As the recent report on the ozone shows us, however, there is still hope that we can turn things around."
Lessons from the loss of passenger pigeon: Our View; The bird was once the most populous in the world, now lost to us. (Wausau Daily Herald [WI] , 09/12/14)
"In Wausau, this year's Birds in Art exhibit at the Woodson Art Museum includes "Legacy Lost & Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America," which ties the passenger pigeon's story to those of other birds that have been lost or nearly lost. ...In Wausau, this year's Birds in Art exhibit at the Woodson Art Museum includes "Legacy Lost & Saved: Extinct and Endangered Birds of North America," which ties the passenger pigeon's story to those of other birds that have been lost or nearly lost. ... We hope and believe that today, we have a different relationship to wildlife, and are more inclined and better equipped to protect species from such a dramatic fall."
EDITORIAL: Just do your job, feds, for the wolves; Our View: If the feds had done their job, they wouldn't be facing another lawsuit over the Mexican grey wolf. (Arizona Republic, 09/11/14)
"If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had done its job, it wouldn't be facing another lawsuit over the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort.... So, you can't expect advocates for the wolf-reintroduction effort to ignore the foot dragging. A coalition of environmental groups has announced its intention to sue the feds. Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Wolf Center and the Wolf Conservation Center are joined by wildlife biologist Dave Parsons ...Instead of defending itself in court, Fish and Wildlife should be busy restoring a healthy, sustainable population of Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest."
Environmentalists to sue over wolves (Arizona Republic, 09/10/14)
Linda Valdez, columnist: "A well-respected biologist is among those who today announced plans to sue the feds for shirking their duty to the Mexican gray wolf....Joining him in the notification of an intent to sue are Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Wolf Center and the Wolf Conservation Center. They are being represented by Earthjustice.... Fish and Wildlife should honor the Endangered Species Act and just get the recovery plan done – without waiting for a long litigation process to mandate it. The agency should write a recovery plan for the Mexican wolf based on science and only science."
EDITORIAL: African elephant slaughter renews faith in ESA (The Olympian [WA], 09/09/14)
"This year is the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction. And we’ve recently learned the slaughter of elephants in Africa could render Earth’s largest land mammals extinct within the decade. These two sad facts remind us of the value of environmental conservation and, in particular, America’s oft-maligned Endangered Species Act. Since a broad bipartisan majority in Congress passed the ESA in 1973, the law has saved salmon, bald eagles, gray wolves, grizzly bears and numerous other animals that would have otherwise disappeared from this planet forever. The act has also preserved countless other animals and plants whose existence depends on those species. ... we face uncertain effects in Thurston County caused by the listing of the Mazama pocket gopher and a few smaller species. But the alternative is worse."
EDITORIAL Our View: Manatees an endangered species (News Herald [Panama, FL], 09/08/14)
"Although manatees have benefited from protections associated with its status under the Endangered Species Act, the potential danger of extinction should weigh heavily on the Fish and Wildlife Service."
Editorial: Bataclysm Now (Chicago Tribune, 09/08/14)
"[B]ats are vital to the ecology of Earth, which is where humans also live. Bats consume tons of insects, including crop pests and mosquitoes ... Our native bats are in mortal danger from a disease called "white-nose syndrome."... Amazing creatures. Not to be feared, but to be appreciated … and rescued."
EDITORIAL Our view: Better take care of bats (Star Press [Muncie, IN], 09/06/14)
"[W]ithout bats, the world would be much worse off, and our food would cost us more to buy.... The pest-control advantage bats offer has been valued in studies from a low of $3.7 billion to a whopping $53 billion a year. ... Unfortunately, bats in Indiana and in much of the eastern U.S. are dying at a frightening rate from a fungus called white-nose syndrome ... The near destruction of the nation's bat population warrants intense research into efforts to control and hopefully eradicate this fungus."
EDITORIAL: Our View: Wilderness is essential (Santa Fe New Mexican, 09/06/14)
"Such designation ensures survival of species, protects water and perhaps most importantly, provides a quiet place for humans to be alone minus noise or modern distractions. We need wilderness more than the wilderness needs us.
In a state where jobs are lagging, the wilderness remains a precious resource that also is an essential economic engine.... Before it is too late, we must set aside additional wild areas as places of refuge for the future."
EDITORIAL: Florida's manatees deserve continued protection (Herald [Bradenton, FL] , 09/06/14)
"Speaking of nature, the manatee is one of the wonders of our waters. ... But there's a fight about the manatee's federal endangered species designation, one that a group of boaters, businesses and other interests want to downgrade to merely threatened. That reduced protection would put manatees in line for hits by boats no longer bound by speeding limits in designated areas. ... The birth rate apparently keeps the manatee population stable, but the nation should be promoting growth.
These creatures are one of Florida treasures, a tourist magnet and thus an economic resource that should be nurtured."
EDITORIAL: Sacred sea cows: Protect manatees (Northwest Florida Daily News, 09/05/14)
"The mortality numbers are a clear indication that threats to the species have not been lessened, and in fact have increased and broadened. Clearly, the science that analyzes the existing and emerging threats indicates a “no” to a move to threatened status at this time."
A century’s worth of difference in saving wildlife (Tampa Tribune [FL] , 09/04/14)
by Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife: "Though the ESA came too late to protect the passenger pigeon and Martha, it has effectively shielded thousands of species from their same fate."
[EDITORIAL] Environmental Concerns: Manatee Must Keep Its Status (Ledger [Lakeland, FL], 09/03/14)
"Powell's summary: Clearly, the science that analyzes the existing and emerging threats indicates a "no" to "downlisting" — a move to threatened status — at present. If threats to manatees have "increased and broadened," changing the classification not only defies science but good judgment."
Jamie Rappaport Clark: Saving wildlife (Tallahassee Democrat [FL] , 09/03/14)
"Without a strong Endangered Species Act, the decline of many species would accelerate, until they too vanished, even ones so numerous that they darken the sun and the face of the earth."
Now-extinct passenger pigeon still teaches the importance of stewardship and conservation: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH], 09/02/14)
"And this year, marking the centennial of her death, advocates hope to galvanize renewed attention to the need to broaden understanding about other North American species threatened with extinction, from bats and freshwater mussels to Massasauga rattlesnakes, which are endangered in Ohio.
More than 190 museums, zoos, historical societies, universities, libraries and other organizations around the country -- including 19 in Ohio -- are involved in "Project Passenger Pigeon" to raise awareness about "lessons from the past for a sustainable future" and to involve more people in saving other species from extinction. It's an important and worthy effort."
Editorial: Endangered species (Gainesville Sun [FL], 09/02/14)
"Despite the slow and very slight increase in the number of manatees during the past 50 years, threats to survival have increased. ... The mortality numbers are a clear indication that threats to the species have not been lessened, and in fact have increased and broadened. Clearly, the science that analyzes the existing and emerging threats indicates a “no” to a move to threatened status at this time."
EDITORIAL: Still Time for a Conservation Legacy (New York Times, 09/02/14)
"Wednesday is the 50th birthday of two of the nation’s most important environmental statutes: the Wilderness Act and the law establishing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For those with long memories, it also commemorates a time when Congress could act productively in a bipartisan spirit that yielded not only these two laws but, within a few short years, landmark protections for clean air, clean water and endangered species. ... Neither law is getting the support it deserves from Congress."
Century's worth of difference in saving wildlife (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 09/01/14)
Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO: "The disappearance of passenger pigeons spurred an awakening and awareness about the value of preserving wildlife ... By the 1970s, this country had concluded that we should never again be responsible for the extinction of a native wildlife species. That is why Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA), our nation's most important safety net for imperiled animals and plants on the brink of extinction. Though the ESA came too late to protect the passenger pigeon and Martha, it has effectively shielded thousands of species from their fate. Thankfully, today, gray wolves, humpback whales, southern sea otters, peregrine falcons, and Florida manatees and panthers still walk this planet precisely because we vowed to protect them through the ESA. ... Without a strong ESA, the decline of many species would accelerate until they too vanished, even ones so numerous they darken the sun and the face of the Earth."
EDITORIAL: Ghost wings: 100 years ago the last passenger pigeon died (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA], 09/01/14)
"The Endangered Species Act has allowed the miraculous comeback of birds like the bald eagles that nest within Pittsburgh’s city limits. But today government regulation is seen as a bogeyman and the Environmental Protection Agency is continually under attack. Next time such myopic sentiments are expressed, pause and hear the beating of ghost wings in the sky, carrying wisdom and warning from the past."
A silver lining in the passenger pigeon's demise: Jamie Rappaport Clark (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH], 08/31/14)
"For the last 40 years, our nation has maintained an incredible track record of protecting our own imperiled wildlife at risk. That's because in 1973, 60 years after the pigeon's demise, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA), our nation's most effective wildlife conservation law. Thanks to the ESA, we've been able to save bald eagles, peregrine falcons, Florida manatees, Southern sea otters, American alligators, grizzly bears, black-footed ferrets and hundreds of other species from an inevitable slide towards extinction.... We couldn't save Martha's species, but there are many species today facing similar threats that we still can save but only if the ESA remains strong. There are some in Congress who would dramatically weaken or gut the ESA in pursuit of short term economic gain, the same motivation that drove the market hunters of Martha and her species. The American people must reject efforts to weaken the ESA and continue to learn from our own history, so today's species don't follow Martha's path into extinction."
Editorial: Endangered manatees (Ocala Star Banner [FL] , 08/30/14)
"Although manatees have benefited from protections associated with its status under the Endangered Species Act, the potential danger of extinction should weigh heavily on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....Clearly, the science that analyzes the existing and emerging threats indicates a “no” to “downlisting” — a move to threatened status.
If threats to manatees have increased, changing the classification not only defies science but good judgment."
Editorial: Keep manatee protections; Proposed change in status defies both science and logic (Sarasota Herald-Tribune [FL] , 08/29/14)
"Why, we ask, would the government change the classification to threatened, if a return to endangered status would be expected? Although manatees have benefited from protections associated with its status under the Endangered Species Act, the potential danger of extinction should weigh heavily on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.... The Herald-Tribune Editorial Board defers to Powell and his interpretation of the science -- and we add that, if threats to manatees have "increased and broadened," changing the classification not only defies science but good judgment."
EDITORIAL: Watching the species disappear (Santa Maria Times [CA], 08/28/14)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the monkeyflower as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.... While we can mourn the potential loss of a small yellow flower in a small plot of North County ground, we also should heed the message of modern science that predicts up to half the species now alive will be gone by 2100. Most scientists agree that humans are responsible for accelerating the extinction cycle of both plant and animal species."
Editorial: Manatees still need maximum protection status (St. Augustine Record [FL] , 08/19/14)
"Federal Fish & Wildlife folks are looking at removing the manatee from the endangered list, under threat of a lawsuit by a group described as having a libertarian bent.... The group that sued is the Pacific Legal Foundation (on behalf of Save Crystal River Inc. — made up largely of economic interests in the area that don’t agree with off-limits manatee zones and lots of idle-speed zones set up to protect the lumbering sea cows from injury or death by the props of outboard motors).... The suffocation of the Indian River Lagoon system, which covers nearly 40 percent of Florida’s east coast, is a strong cause for concern for the health of manatee stocks over the next few years — or far beyond. It makes sense to keep their classification at the endangered level until all effects can be studied."