Florida panther – conservation efforts have succeeded for now

In a worrying article by the Los Angeles Times of 2005, it was stated that over 200 FWS employees have said that they were directed (in effect forced I would allege) to alter their reports in favour of commercial development on the precious habitat. Of course the flawed research mentioned above did exactly that over a long period of time. There seems to be collusion between business and politics; an age old situation, which invariable hurts nature. The Bush administration was against wildlife it seems thereby undermining conservation efforts during his presidential term.

Very sadly, on the face of it things will not change under president Obama, which surprises me. Perhaps he was ill advised. The Environment News Service says (at June 23rd 2009) that President Obama has appointed a person with a very poor track record of enforcing the Endangered Species Act 1973 and a very good track record (from the viewpoint of business) of conducting consultations on development permits and granting them!

The person appointed, Sam Hamilton, is steeped in the ways of the FWS in eastern USA. His area of responsibility covers Florida. This seems to spell the end of the Florida panther. Comparing track records:

Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) RegionNumber of ConsultationsNumber of Objections
10 state South-eastern Region headed by Hamilton5,9741
Rocky Mountain Region586100

The above records simply back up what is inferred by Liza Gross that there is an underlying political position that favours business in Florida and that considers wildlife an obstacle to be overcome. I would argue that Hamilton is technically working within the Endangered Species Act but is not faithful to its purpose and objectives and I wonder whether a challenge could be mounted. In other words, a judicial review of the decisions made as being ultra vires (“beyond the powers”) the act. Such a long history of decision making by Hamilton indicates it could be done.

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