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The PLF Sentry
Commentary and news from Pacific Legal Foundation - www.pacificlegal.org
Vol. 7, No. 1
January 5, 2007



"If you think the Postal Service is slow...try getting a bird, fish or mammal removed from the endangered species list," laments a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal. The Journal editors cite as an example the federal government's years of foot-dragging over the bald eagle. It was a full eight years ago - back in 1999, during the Clinton administration ? that the process started for having the bald eagle removed from the ESA's list of endangered species list. But regulators have stalled and stalled and stalled, even though there are now thought to be more than 7,000 nesting pairs in the continental U.S. (up from 417 back in 1963, when the noble bird truly was endangered).

The Journal singles out PLF for forcing the government to finally fulfill its legal obligation and remove the bald eagle from the endangered list. "The Pacific Legal Foundation had to sue on behalf of a Minnesota man to get the bureaucrats to move," write The Journal's editors.

PLF's victory came in the case of Contoski v. Scarlett, in which a federal District Court in Minneapolis today set a deadline of next month (February 16, 2007), for the delisting. PLF represents landowner Edmund Contoski, who has been prevented from building several cabins on property he owns, because of the government's continued listing of the bald eagle.

"All the science shows that the bald eagle is fully recovered and not threatened or endangered," said PLF attorney, Damien Schiff. "Recognizing this fact, the Department of Interior has indicated for the past seven years that it intends to ?delist' the eagle. But it has been dragging its feet on actually taking that step - even though it was under statutory obligation to move more quickly. By ordering federal regulators to delist by mid-February, the federal court struck a blow for accountability in bureaucracy and for the principle that regulators must abide by the law, and the law's deadlines."

Once the bald eagle is removed from the Endangered Species list, the species will continue to be protected by two other federal laws - the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The acts prohibit the taking, harming, or killing of the bird.

As The Journal notes, the eagle's recovery "owes far less to the 1973 Endangered Species Act than to the end of DDT pesticide use and public education against hunting the birds."
PLF's victory for common sense and bureaucratic accountability with regard to the bald eagle is part of the Foundation's program of litigating for a responsible and balanced approach to environmental regulation. It is also another reminder that PLF is the nation's most successful defender of property rights in the courts.

Read the Journal's editorial on PLF's bald eagle Victory: (subscription required): http://online.wsj.com/google_login.html?url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116709242785559251.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
Read the Washington Post?s coverage of PLF?s bald eagle case: http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/27/Worldandnation/Bald_eagle_flying_off.shtml

The PLF Sentry is published by Pacific Legal Foundation and may be redistributed in its entirety with proper attribution to PLF. If you have been forwarded this e-mail message from a friend and would like to subscribe to receive future issues of The PLF Sentry, visit our home page.
Established in 1973, PLF is the oldest, largest, and in the words of the Washington Post, "perhaps most influential" public interest law foundation of its kind. PLF is a tax-exempt, charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and relies entirely upon private donations for its support.

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