Tue May 10, 2011

Interior: Endangered Species Act Settlement Reached

The US Department of Interior has reached a settlement with environmentalists over litigation that the agency says is bogging down the potential listings of hundreds of threatened and endangered species, including the greater sage grouse in Colorado and Wyoming.

Under the pending deal, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to a six-year time-line for determining whether more than 250 so-called “candidate species” are eligible for Endangered Species Act protections. 

"It enables us to focus efforts on species most in need of protection, something we haven’t been able to do in years," said Gary Frasier, the FWS's assistant director for endangered species.

In turn, the group Wild Earth Guardians has agreed to drop lawsuits and petitions that seek to add hundreds of additional species to the candidate list. The settlement is still subject to a federal judge’s approval.