Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.26.2006
A coalition of environmental groups says it will sue the federal government to restore the pygmy owl’s endangered status unless the government decides within a week to do that on its own.
The notice of intent to sue, filed Monday, challenges an April 14 U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist the pygmy owl — about nine years after it was first listed. Once the decision takes effect in mid-May, delisting will remove all federal control over Northwest Side development.
"In light of the pygmy owl’s exceedingly imperiled status and the fact that this decision will strip the species and its habitat of any meaningful legal protection, your action creates an emergency posing a significant risk to the pygmy owl’s well-being," said the notice, prepared by the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity and three Audubon Society chapters in Arizona.
The federal government said it delisted the owl because it doesn’t believe the Arizona population’s loss would significantly affect the bird’s entire range and population in both the United States and Mexico. The environmentalists’ notice challenges the legal and scientific theories behind that decision.