Snakes, and shrimps and lawsuits, oh my!

Is it really too much to ask to have infrastructure in place to make people’s lives just a little easier? I don’t approve of the means with one proposal but come on! Let us have some more civilization, unless it is the environmentalist’s mission in life to make life as difficult as possible and not to have any civilization. Increasingly the latter is the case. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) notified (i.e. threatened) the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of it’s intent to sue the agency citing the Endangered Species Act for its livestock grazing program citing grazing on Arizona lands held by the bureau. The CBD alleges that grazing on Arizona lands threatens two species of aquatic snakes: the northern Mexican and narrow-headed garter snakes.

CBD alleges the two snakes’ populations have been in decline in recent years and wants BLM to secure the tracts of land the bureaucracy agreed to set aside for them as part of a settlement BLM reached with CBD. The Center for Biological Diversity states BLM is dragging its feet despite assurances of finalizing designations next year. As per the CBD’s press release it views grazing (i.e. human activity) as a threat to the lives of the two aquatic snakes it claims to defend. The group knows grazing is used by ranchers as means of feeding their cattle so this not only is a way to halt the practice using endangered species as the excuse but also to make it harder for ranchers. The CBD obviously hopes the end result being less beef for the US population.

Then there is a light rail extension project out of Maryland being built by Montgomery County. According to The Washington Post, the group Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail along with three residents of Chevy Chase have threatened to sue the county until and unless they come up with a plan to prevent possible harm to three species of freshwater amphipods. The shrimp-like creatures are listed as endangered species under Maryland law though one out of the two amphipods are listed as endangered federally. The group says their habitats would be affected by the light rail. But federal officials have investigated this possibility and have said the amphipods’ habitat would not be impacted. Still not satisfied with the investigation, the group demands a more thorough review.

Two more instances of environmentalist groups holding up progress using endangered species statutes and lawsuits or the threat of one as the means to do so. The former case a sneaky attack on our food supply to forbid grazing on federal lands despite ranchers paying for the benefit so they can make a living. The latter a light rail line that can make lit easier for Montgomery County residents.