Interior Dept. strikes deal to clear backlog on endangered species listings

Deal could pave the way for an avalanche of new listings under the Endangered Species Act

05-10-2011 // Juliet Eilperin

This excerpt is from a Washington Post article

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The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will clear a decades-long backlog of petitions for the endangered species list, agreeing to decide within six years whether 251 species deserve federal protection.

The settlement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and WildEarth Guardians is a partial truce in the long-running battle between left-leaning environmental groups and Fish and Wildlife Service officials, who say they lack the resources to add all the plants and animals that deserve protection to the federal endangered species list. It could pave the way for an avalanche of new listings under the Endangered Species Act, though it also limits the number of species that the wildlife group can petition to list.

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However, representatives of several other environmental groups, such as John Kostyack, vice president of wildlife conservation for the National Wildlife Federation, welcomed the settlement. “The focus should be getting species protected and avoiding unnecessary resources being devoted to the courtroom,” Kostyack said.

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