July 01, 2014

Whooping cranes lose today, may win for future

Whooping crane in Texas in flight. John Noll/USDA
I agree with Jim Blackburn of the Aransas Project, on a three-judge ruling within the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that overthrew a federal district court ruling finding the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality liable in whooping crane deaths for not sending enough water down the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers during drought.

The appellate panel ruled narrowly, mainly saying that TCEQ couldn't have had foreknowledge its actions would indirectly kill whoopers.

But, in looking for a silver lining, Blackburn notes that, with the whooper deaths of the suit now on record, the state now knows.

As rivers like the Brazos and Colorado, despite June's abundance of rain, face growing long-term problems, this is more incentive than ever for the state to seriously address long-term problems. The state's long-tern loan fund to build more shallow, high-evaporation reservoir lakes doesn't do that.

Conservation, linking groundwater with streamwater and other work must all be increased.

That said, I noted this is more incentive. Will the state listen? 

As long as TCEQ is run by anti-environmentalists who are also anti-open government, you know the answer.

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