Ted Williams 
Member since Jul 22, 2011


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Re: “Guest Commentary

Of the four sources I quoted only one asked for anonymity because, as he said, the CBD would “go after him.” He’s a high-ranking official in the Obama administration whom I’ve known for years. He doesn’t “lie,” and I have never known him to be in error regarding wildlife issues. Nor did I quote him as saying, as Suckling wrong claims, “that the Center would file a lawsuit in 90 days when the USFWS failed to issue a decision on its petition to protect 404 imperiled southeastern aquatic species.” Again, Mr. Suckling and I could have a more productive and interesting exchange if he would read my piece. I do not “hate” the Center. I have known and worked with many fine, young, idealistic people there who are ill-served by their leadership. And I recognize that, even with that leadership, the Center has done many good things for wildlife. As for the money the Center takes from the public and wildlife no one can say how much because the agencies refuse to report what the figures are. But the real cost both in money and wildlife of the Center’s endless and often meritless petitions and lawsuits is time. I’m talking about the weeks and months professional biologists hired by the public must spend reviewing species the scientifically untrained attorneys of the center imagine should be listed. And the weeks and months the same professional biologists must spend conferring with the Justice Department about CBD lawsuits. This is precious management time and precious, limited payroll funds that species facing the gravest threats of extinction can’t spare. And this is what the Obama administration means when it says, as I quoted: "CBD has divested [Interior] of any control over Endangered Species Act priorities and caused a huge drain on resources.”

Posted by Ted Williams on 08/02/2011 at 7:23 AM

Re: “Guest Commentary

Former Fish and Wildlife Director Jamie Clark is “an anonymous source”? Former National Fish and Wildlife Foundation director Amos Eno is an “anonymous source”? Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is “an anonymous source?” I wish Mr. Suckling would read my article before he complains so bitterly about it. Neither the Center for Biological Diversity nor the Interior Department releases records of what is paid out in attorney’s fees, so Suckling cannot blame the public for raising questions about what Jamie Clark calls the ESA litigation “industry.” But far more hurtful than any money the public loses is the loss in time and effort of federal biologists who have to cease working for wildlife in order to spend days and weeks consulting with Justice about the meritless petitions filed by the Center. The dwarf seahorse is a good example. There is absolutely no data to indicate that it should be listed, yet it occurs in the Gulf and provided the center with some publicity during the oil spill. Just because right-wing, anti-environmentalists complain about the center doesn’t they’re wrong. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Re. Suckling’s claim that the center doesn’t collect much money for Freedom of Information suits, consider this on-record comment from John Hunt, the Fish and Wildlife Services Freedom of Information Act offcer at at Region 9 (headquarters): “Once we’ve provided a response or haven’t The Center for Biological Diversity can appeal for inappropriate applications of exemptions, not meeting the statutory time frame (20-30 days, 30 days of extenuating circumstances like multiple locations), no-records-found response, a variety of scenarios. CBD is one of our more frequent requesters…. They appeal first, then litigate. If they have not received a response on appeal from the department; and the department FOIA field office is frequently backed up, they can jump directly into litigation.”

Posted by Ted Williams on 07/22/2011 at 9:57 PM

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