Newest Lawsuit Seeks Protection From Climate Change

19 08 2008

Several environmental groups filed seperate lawsuits against federal and state agencies in California demanding listing of the American Pika under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The basis of their demand was limited populations threatened by several factors including climate change and global warming.

According to EarthJustice and the Center for Biological Diversity, the agencies are responsible for listing endangered species, the American Pika should be listed because climate change is pushing the species into extinction for loss of cold-air habitat.  Relying on the the polar bear’s recent listing as a threatened species under the ESA, the groups filed suit after unsuccessfully petitioning last year.  But Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne made clear at the time that the Endangered Species Act was not intended to regulate global climate change.

Kempthorne said it would be “inappropriate” to use the Endangered Species Act to control greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants and other sources. He said the polar bear listing would be accompanied by “administrative guidance” and an administrative rule to limit any unintended harm to the U.S. economy.

Environmentalists dispute the White House approach.

“We disagree with the administration that the Endangered Species Act isn’t a perfectly appropriate act to address global warming,” said Greg Loarie of Earthjustice, an environmental legal firm representing the Center for Biological Diversity in the lawsuit. 

We will seek a copy of the complaints and post as soon as possible.  For more information on the Pika, see: