Federal Wilderness Act And Environmentalists Prevent Endangered Trout Recovery
    By Hank Campbell | September 12th 2011 07:04 PM | 4 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    One long-standing myth is that any law claiming to be good for the environment is actually good for the environment.   Anyone living along levees in the South who watched environmental lawsuits block improvements in the 1990s and then heard the Army Corps of Engineers criticized after Hurricane Katrina for not previously making improvements had to wonder why the media didn't cover one obvious source of blame for the entire region not being more resistant to floods.

    No, instead we got treated to Sean Penn carrying a shotgun, apparently to mow down the zombies the media claimed were floating in New Orleans and everyone blamed Pres. George Bush because the tropical storm turned into a hurricane.

    Here in California, wildfires became something of a running joke about environmentalists in the early 2000s.  They are rather easy to mitigate; you clear out dead brush and dead trees and make fire breaks.  When wildfires blazed through much of California a few years ago, who got the blame?  The government - because the government was supposedly in bed with Big Logging every time state biologists tried to make a plan to prevent raging fires that belch pollutants into the air.

    Most recently, environmental laws are keeping a rare High Sierra fish from being able to recover. I am talking about the Paiute cutthroat trout. Ordinarily I would not worry too much about one fish; the supposed slippery slope of ecological doom that will happen if any species dies -  thousands of species go extinct every day without ever even being discovered - doesn't apply to taxes or progressive cultural issues so it strikes me as the usual partisan stuff when it's claimed about an obscure fish.

    In this instance, I have to write because the Federal government and the State want to restore the fish, they even have a plan to restore this rare fish to its historical range, but they can't.  The law is the law and the badly written Wilderness Act says the auger that would be needed to do so, which can only be powered by a gasoline-powered generator since there are no power lines there...can't be used in designated wilderness areas.

    Federal biologists know it's goofy, so do state ones.  Maybe even U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. knows it is goofy but, let's be honest, no judge is getting appointed or elected in California without having the right progressive credibility so if there is any interpretation to be done, he is siding with progressives.  He dutifully did, and issued a permanent injunction based on the Wilderness Act, which means the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Game are now forced to try and spend more taxpayer money on lawyers to get around the federal Wilderness Act law in order to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act and restore the Paiute cutthroat trout, which they are required to do by law.

    Confusing, right? 

    Wilderness Watch and two other activist groups who don't understand responsible environmental stewardship sued to block the trout's restoration, claiming the use of the auger should not be exempted from the Wilderness Act and, really, denied that the project was necessary at all.  The federal and government agencies stated that in order for the Paiute to survive non-native invasive fish have to be removed and that the auger was the most environmentally responsible way to do so.  The ecological damage would otherwise be higher.

    The judge sided with the activists and said the non-native fish have rights under the Act also and the auger was a no-go, writing in his opinion "the public interest favors preservation of the unimpaired wilderness".

    Environmentalists for the win!   Activism at all costs 1 - Endangered species 0.


    Gerhard Adam
    ...everyone blamed Pres. George Bush because the tropical storm turned into a hurricane.
    I think your over-stating that position by a bit.  The president was blamed for the failure to properly be prepared and respond after the levees were breached.  Certainly there was no shortage of individuals that could share blame in that mess, but it was some ill-timed statements and apparent lack of awareness that resulted in the biggest criticism.

    I also think your showing a bit of bias here by suggesting that environmental laws are so effective that they continuously stop those that wish to do "good".  
    Mundus vult decipi
    If outrage is bias, then, sure, I am biased.  Environmental protection laws like these were jammed through without regard to being properly written.
    Gerhard Adam
    Not to be a wise-guy, but what laws do you consider to be well-written?  I certainly can't think of any, but I take your point.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Finally! Some how these Fish and Wildlife wackjobs think it is O.K. to kill the Lahontan Cutthroat, which are a threatened species, and the Paiute Trout that are already in that stretch of water, and everything else in that water shed to increase the population, not range, of the Paiute Trout (They already exist in this section of stream). The use of chemicals and power equipment in that area is totally inconsistant with the Wilderness Act. These same folks have already poisoned Silver CreeK, Wolf Creek, and Mill Creek 15 years ago, and those bodies of water and half of the total miles of streams on the east slope in the Carson Iceberg are still off limits to fishing. The Paiute are not in danger of extinction, they exist in several creeks in the region including Coyote Creek, Fish Valley Creek and Others. This is just another make-work pipe dream for idealistic bureaucrats! The idea that they will create a fishable population of this species is just a rouse to get buy-in from the ignorant. As I stated before once the close a body of water to use, it NEVER gets reopened! It is the mandates in the Endangered Species Act that need to be throttled back, not the laws that restrain its draconian implementation.