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Contact: Christina M. Martin
Staff Attorney
Pacific Legal Foundation - Atlantic Center
(561) 691-5000

M. Reed Hopper
Principal Attorney
Pacific Legal Foundation
(360) 279-0937

PLF statement on federal manatee announcement

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL; January 7, 2016:  After being prodded by formal petitioning and litigation from Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today issued a proposed rule calling for the reclassifying of the manatee from “endangered” to “threatened.”  With this announcement, the FWS — after a delay of eight years — has finally moved to bring the classification of the manatee into line with its own scientific findings.

PLF Attorney Christina Martin issued this statement regarding today’s announcement:

Christina M. Martin
Staff Attorney

M. Reed Hopper
Principal Attorney

“The good news is that the manatee population is increasing and federal officials are finally acknowledging this fact,” said PLF Attorney Christina Martin, based in PLF’s Atlantic Center office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  “The bad news is that federal officials took so long to accept the good news about the manatee’s improvement.  It has taken eight years and two lawsuits to get federal officials to follow up on their own experts’ recommendation to reclassify the manatee.  Over that time, the manatee population has grown substantially, while federal officials have been sitting on their hands.  We are glad to see that the manatee is doing well, but all taxpayers should demand that the government do much better, going forward, in following the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

“It is also important to remember that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s action is only a proposed rule,” Martin continued.  “The agency now has 12 months to either adopt the proposed rule or to explain why it won’t do so.  Hopefully, these officials won’t have to be sued again to be forced to do their job and give the manatee the proper classification that their own studies call for.”

In seeking reclassification of the manatee, PLF attorneys represent Save Crystal River, Inc., a nonprofit organization of residents from Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida, who advocate for property rights and a quality of life that preserves the proper balance between nature and human activity.  As with all its clients, PLF represents Save Crystal River free of charge.

PLF’s lawsuit to force the agency to comply with the law and issue a decision on manatee reclassification, is titled, Save Crystal River, Inc. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is a nonprofit public interest watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulation, in courts across the country. PLF’s Atlantic Center is located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. PLF represents all clients free of charge.