Wednesday Wake-Up Call 03.04.20

Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. With both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Wednesdays, it’s been a few weeks. Working with our friends at Trout UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean WaterBullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!

1. Federal judge hears arguments on lawsuit against EPA over withdrawn protections for Pebble deposit area

Bristol Bay Defense Alliance members and other plantiffs in the lawsuit against the EPA for arbitrarily withdrawn proposed protections for Bristol Bay take a photo after oral argument in Anchorage on March 2, 2020.
Photo via UTBB blog

Last October, we told you about the filing of several lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency over their decision to remove protections for the Bristol Bay region from threats posed by the Pebble mine proposal.

On Monday, a U.S. District Judge heard arguments on whether or not to dismiss the now-consolidated lawsuit:

Mark Nitczynski, an attorney with the Department of Justice representing the EPA, argued that the EPA’s decision to withdraw the proposed determination is a decision “not to enforce,” which is presumptively unreviewable. Nitczynski argued that if the case is not dismissed, Judge Gleason’s decision would subject every EPA decision not to use its veto authority on any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to a review.

The plantiffs argument opposing the motion to dismiss is that the EPA’s decision is reviewable, that the withdrawal decision is not an administrative decision traditionally committed to agency discretion, and that the Clean Water Act and the EPA’s regulations provide law to apply.

Click here to read the full story from KTUU and United Tribes of Bristol Bay.

More Pebble News:

2. Is Everglades Restoration Worth the Money? The Numbers Say YES.

Everglades restoration is expensive. The original Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), passed in 2000, put the price tag at $8 billion. But that was 20 years ago, so costs have increased, and we know more about how big these projects need to be. So, the question is: Is it all worth it?

The Everglades Foundation has put together a website called Everglades Economy to show just how valuable the River of Grass and its watershed really are:

Key Everglades restoration projects like the Everglades Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee will allow water managers the tools to store, clean and re-direct freshwater from Lake Okeechobee back to the Everglades and ultimately to Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.  This project will result in regional habitat improvements across South Florida.  The Everglades Reservoir project will also cut unwanted polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers by 55%, thus reducing the occurrence of toxic blue-green algae that has plagued both coasts over the past decade.  It has been estimated that this project will bring an even greater (8:1) ROI.

Click here to visit Everglades Economy.

More Everglades Restoration News:

3. Federal Judge Voids 1 Million Acres of Oil and Gas Leases in Sage Grouse Fight

Male sage grouse gather at a lek in Central Montana and perform competitive displays to attract females. April 2008.
Photo courtesy USDA

Writing on Meat Eater, Sam Lungren describes how a U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge vacated a January 2018 memorandum from the Bureau of Land Management that had greatly reduced public comment and protest periods for proposed energy lease sales, as well as abbreviated environmental review.

“Faster and easier lease sales, at the expense of public participation, is not enough,” Judge Bush wrote in his decision. He restored 30-day public comment and administrative protest periods for proposed leases.

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit from the Western Watershed Project and the Center for Biological Diversity, which argued that the leases would threaten vital sage-grouse habitat.

Click here for the full story on Meat Eater.

4. Bringing Arctic Grayling Back to Michigan

Previous efforts to restore grayling to Michigan have failed. The Michigan Arctic grayling, in fact, is extinct. Efforts to bring grayling back to the state are focusing on other subspecies of the fish—it’s as close as fisheries managers in the state can get.

Click here for the full story on TU.org.

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