The New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association and a coalition of county governments from New Mexico and Arizona recently sued the Fish and Wildlife Service, claiming that FWS overstepped its bounds in setting aside critical habitat for the spikedace and loach minnow, two threatened piscines. Not content at first eliminating the critters from 80% of their historic range, nor even at getting the critical habitat designation reduced from 900 miles to 500 miles of river, these cowboys wished to beat the tiny fish back even further, and suspend all habitat protection. Apparently humans just aren’t sucking enough water out of the southwest for inefficient and over-subsidized agricultural purposes yet.
But in one of those classic moments that old Aesop would have loved, the Center for Biological Diversity countersued and yesterday judge John Conway instead ruled that the habitat designation was probably not expansive enough, and had most likely been tainted by pressure from disgraced deputy assistant Interior secretary Julie MacDonald (who was forced to resign back in 2007 after her little habit of overriding scientist recommendations in order to produce decisions more amenable to her political overlords and their economic overlords came to light.) The current protections for the spikedace and loach minnow will remain in place while the Fish and Wildlife Service studies what more should be done.
I believe the appropriate phrase, in the parlance of our times, is “Ha-ha”.