Target: Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director
Goal: Make overdue decisions on nine species named in lawsuit alleging that threatened animals are being put at risk by lack of action.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has missed deadlines for granting federal protections to multiple species according to a lawsuit has been filed against to agency. According to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an advocacy organization for endangered animals, the agency has dragged its feet and contributed to further endangerment of at-risk animals. Decision deadlines were passed–by years, in some cases–for species including the Northern Rockies fisher, the California spotted owl, the Canoe Creek pigtoe, and the alligator snapping turtle.
The CBD regularly petitions for federal protection decisions from the Fish and Wildlife Service, and mutually agreed-upon deadlines are set for each species. When the federal agency fails to comply, the CBD’s recourse is to take legal action to demand decisions. While the animals at the center of the lawsuit are definitely at risk, little action can be taken until they are officially declared endangered. Therefore, these matters are of an urgent nature, and certainly require more expedient attention than the Fish and Wildlife Service has given them.
It is shameful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can’t hold itself accountable. If the CBD did not use the law to demand that decisions be made, it seems unlikely that the agency would act to protect endangered species at all. When years-old deadlines are not being met by the agency’s own volition, it becomes clear that something is broken in the federal government’s implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Demand that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hold itself accountable and give urgent attention to the nine species at the heart of this lawsuit.
Dear Mr. Ashe,
According to a recent lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dragged its feet, in some cases for years, on meeting deadlines for declaring the status of nine animal species. We believe this is outrageous, especially considering the urgent nature of these situations. Only minimal action can be taken before a species is officially declared endangered, and the threat of extinction increases with every day that federal protections are withheld.
We, the undersigned, ask that you give immediate attention to the nine species at the heart of the lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity. Your decisions are urgently needed in each of these cases. We believe these animals deserve and must have protection from the federal government. Additionally, we hope this lawsuit will spur broader agency changes in accountability with regard to granting endangered species protections more expediently.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service