[Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species

vitz vitz kokovitz at msn.com
Sat Feb 27 20:54:18 EST 2010

this was posted on a hobby forum that deals with MO industry related issues......


http://naturalresourcereport.com/2009/1 ... -lawsuits/

Taxpayers foot the bill for environmental lawsuits

November 5, 2009

By Oregon Tax News,

The federal government spends about the same amount of money funding environmental lawyers as it does to protect endangered species according to an investigation conducted by a Wyoming lawyer who defends farmers and ranchers involved in environmental lawsuits.

According to the Capital Press, Karen Budd-Falen was curious how much money the federal government paid the lawyers who initiated cases against her clients and uncovered more than $4.7 billion in taxpayer money that the government paid to environmental law firms between 2003 and 2007. That represents an average of $940 million a year, compared to $922 million spent directly on the 986 endangered and threatened species, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s annual report.

According to her research, Budd-Falen found that three environmental groups—Western Watersheds Council, Forest Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity—filed more than 700 lawsuits against the U.S. government between 2000 and 2009.

“That money is not going into programs to protect people, wildlife, plants and animals,” Budd-Falen told the Capital Press, “but to fund more lawsuits.”

According to Budd-Falen, environmental groups are eligible for government funds under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which provides for the award of attorney fees to “prevailing parties” in cases against the government. The firms also are accessing government funds through the Judgment Fund, which is a line-item appropriation in the federal budget used for paying claims against the government.

“We tried to track the fees paid to environmental groups in certain federal courts. These guys are charging between $350 and $450 an hour in legal fees.” Budd-Falen told Now Public.

“If you just look at the raw number and say ‘why in the world is the United States paying a million dollars bankrolling them to sue us,’ well that’s what congress set up through EAJA. That’s the law, we’re bound by it,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Haws of Boise told Now Public.

Budd-Falen found in one 15-month-long case that Earthjustice Legal Foundation and the Western Environmental Law Center filed for $479,242 in attorneys’ fees.

Brian Smith, a spokesman for Earthjustice, told the Capital Press that the foundation counts on those fees because it represents groups free of charge and that if the government had been doing its job under the Bush administration, the foundation wouldn’t be so active. He believes the current Obama administration will reduce the need for environmental lawsuits.

However, Budd-Falen doubts the steady stream of lawsuits will stop, or even slow. “Why would you stop filing litigation when you can get that kind of money? They are not filing these suits to try and protect the environment. They are filing these suits to make money.”
> Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 12:23:11 -0500
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> From: eshinn at marine.usf.edu
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
> >
> >My concerns about the CBDs proposed threatened coral species action 
> >certainly created some interest among list readers. I had hoped 
> >that by discussing this issue someone would come forward and explain 
> >how the listing would save those species when listing of Acropora 
> >appeared to have done little. Like Eric Borneman, I wanted to know 
> >who and how the species were selected. What I heard through the 
> >list responses was that "it would make people aware of the problem." 
> >Unfortunately that will not save any corals since they are not being 
> >collected or molested in any significant way. There really is no 
> >action that would change Caribbean-wide diseases and water quality 
> >issues in the short term. What worries me the most is that the 
> >Florida Keys are already a marine sanctuary that protects all 
> >species of corals including those that are not included in the 82 
> >species. Will having NMFS list them save those in Florida? Maybe 
> >they are directing this listing outside of Florida? I think we are 
> >all aware that If Co2 emissions were to cease tomorrow it might 
> >take about 50 years before atmospheric and sea water levels returned 
> >to pre industrial levels. If that's what is killing them (we really 
> >do not know what is killing them in the Caribbean) then they would 
> >already be dead by then.
> >What we have heard from the CBD attorney on the list was a simply a 
> >legal explaination of their action. There was no suggestion as to 
> >how NMFS can save corals from storms, and a region wide 
> >disease/water quality problem. I did a little checking and found 
> >that the CBD has been very successful in badgering governments and 
> >using our tax money to do so. During its 20-year exisence CBD has 
> >wone close to 90 percent of its 500 cases! For more see the book 
> >"Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving 
> >Our Planet." I asked the question earlier, "where do they get their 
> >funding" A little investigation revealed a lot. Here is a quote from 
> >Budd-Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming document, "Just between 
> >Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico, 
> >and Washington, the CBD has amassed $6,709,467 in attorneys fees all 
> >paid by the taxpayers. That's a pretty good business. I will send 
> >the full statement to those who request it. For more about the 
> >attorneys and who makes CBD tick go to 
> ><http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/opinion/113415.php> and finally 
> >for a lot of fun go to this site 
> ><http://www.endangeredspeciescondoms.com/> and learn about CBD birth 
> >control devices. I can't wait to order my Staghorn package. Gene PS: 
> >The tucsoncitizen website has been removed since I read it yesterday.
> >--
> >
> >
> >
> >No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> >------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> >E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> >University of South Florida
> >Marine Science Center (room 204)
> >140 Seventh Avenue South
> >St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> ><eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> >Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 
> >-----------------------------------
> -- 
> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
> University of South Florida
> Marine Science Center (room 204)
> 140 Seventh Avenue South
> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
> Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 
> -----------------------------------
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