- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2001

Western lawmakers are angry at Washington bureaucrats for ignoring endangered species in their own back yard while placing enormous restrictions on their states where similar bugs and critters are rarely found.
"It appears Washington, D.C., gets a special exemption when it comes to species protection," said Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican.
"In Washington 'nimby' means: no endangered species in my backyard," Mr. Craig said.
The Interior Department is refusing an emergency listing of three bugs because it would threaten construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project, the lawmakers said.
Meanwhile, the University of California has to relocate its proposed Mercado campus two miles away from its original site and is shelling out millions to lawyers and environmental consultants to avoid harming fairy shrimp in vernal pools.
"In the West, a puddle the size of a pothole can be declared a vernal pool but when it is the convenience of Beltway commuters, suddenly a legitimate endangered species gets swept under the rug," said Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican.
One of the rare bugs, commonly called the Northern Virginia well amphipod, has not been seen since 1948 and was thought to be extinct.
The Interior Department says the sighting of one new bug, however, "indicates that the species, though it may be rare, has persisted and is not in imminent danger of extinction."
The federal agency in charge of endangered species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, outlined its decision on the rare bug in a June 14 letter obtained by The Washington Times. The other two bugs denied emergency listing are the Acanthocyclops columbiensis and Stygobromus kenki.
Mr. Craig said the refusal to list the bugs "clearly demonstrates the Endangered Species Act is not uniformly applied to critters in the Beltway versus listings in Idaho like the Bruneau hotspring snail or the fairy shrimp in California."
The listing of the hotspring snail of Bruneau, Idaho, threatens to take water away from ranchers and farmers and is opposed by Mr. Craig.
Farms in the Klamath Basin of Washington state and Oregon this summer are out of business and out of water — which is being held back — because two endangered species have been sighted in the area.
"The arrogance of the environmental regulatory agencies is astounding," said Rep. George P. Radanovich, California Republican.
"While shutting down family farms and ranches without a second thought in the West, they will consign rare species to oblivion in Washington if it's convenient," Mr. Radanovich said.
Also in Washington state, four firefighters perished in a July 11 forest fire nearly ten hours after requesting water drops from a nearby river.
Federal officials reportedly refused the request because the river was thought to contain endangered species.
When eight endangered Delhi Sands flower-loving flies were discovered near Los Angeles, the Fish and Wildlife service stalled school and hospital construction until the county of San Bernardino came up with $220 million for land acquisitions to protect the bugs.
"The double standards are enormous," said Rob Gordon, executive director of the National Wilderness Institute.
The conservative environmental group is suing the federal government for violating the Endangered Species Act with regard to construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and other federally operated drinking-water facilities.

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