Trump FWS Broke The Law In Refusing To Protect Joshua Trees, Court Rules

"A federal judge ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision not to grant the iconic desert plant protection under the Endangered Species Act."

"A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration violated the law when it declined to grant Endangered Species Act protections to the iconic Joshua tree.

In 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a petition from WildEarth Guardians to list the desert trees as threatened under the landmark 1972 conservation law. The agency said at the time that it analyzed a number of potential impacts, including drought, wildfire and climate change, and found that neither of the two species of Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia or Yucca jaegeriana, warranted federal protection.

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright, an appointee of President George W. Bush, slammed the federal agency in his Wednesday opinion and sided with WildEarth Guardians, which argued that the federal agency disregarded science showing the myriad ways in which climate impacts threaten the trees’ long-term survival.

“The Service’s climate change conclusions are arbitrary and capricious because the Service disregarded material data and failed to explain why,” Wright wrote. “The Service’s findings regarding threats posed by climate change and wildfire are unsupported, speculative, or irrational.”"

Chris D’Angelo reports for HuffPost September 22, 2021.


"Court Orders Feds To Reconsider Protections For Joshua Trees" (E&E News)

Source: HuffPost, 09/23/2021