Thursday, January 19, 2012

The gist of the Steller sea lion ruling

Here is the judge's overall finding in the Steller sea lion case:

As discussed in detail below, although the Court sympathizes with the Plaintiffs and Amici Curiae, who stand to suffer large economic and other losses as a result of the fishery restrictions, "judges are not scientists." The Court must defer to the technical expertise of the agency as long as there is a rational connection between the evidence and its conclusions. In this case, the Court finds that NMFS did not apply improper ESA standards and that the evidence, although equivocal, was sufficient to support its conclusions that the fisheries were likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the WDPS and adversely modify its critical habitat. Additionally, although the procedures NMFS employed to comply with its obligations under the APA and MSA were far from ideal, the Court nonetheless concludes that they were adequate under the law. The Court does find, however, that NMFS violated NEPA by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement and provide the public with a sufficient opportunity to weigh in on its decision-making process.

Here's a mini-glossary for all those acronyms:

APA — Administrative Procedure Act
ESA — Endangered Species Act
MSA — Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
NEPA — National Environmental Policy Act
NMFS — National Marine Fisheries Service
WDPS — Western Distinct Population Segment of Steller sea lions


Anonymous said...

FBKTH doing all they can to shut down the ocean one piece at a time.
There just MIGHT be a connect between the increase of Killer whales and the decrease of sea lions.
Oh, excuse me "Orcas".

Acronym translation: F'bunny-kissers-tree-huggers.
Way to go Greenpeace/NMFS

Anonymous said...

Like Burgess wrote...
"Judges are not Scientists"

As the no-sciense ADF&G,including the political science major as the only employment requirement.

"In the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the population of Stellar sea lions declined sharply at the same time that commercial fishing in these areas was increasing...."