Rare flower reconsidered for federal protection
June 10, 2011
DENVER (AP) – A federal judge in Colorado has upheld a 2008 challenge from conservation groups seeking to overturn a federal decision that denied protection to a wildflower found only in the oil shale outcroppings of northeast Utah and northwest Colorado.
Attorneys for environmental groups said Thursday that Senior judge Walker Miller issued a decision saying that not listing Graham’s penstemon on the endangered species list was “arbitrary and capricious.” Walker directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider.
Earthjustice attorney Meg Parish says environmentalists believe it was a political decision to not protect the flower because it grows in areas of oil and gas development. Environmentalists say there are only 6,000 of the plants, a member of the snapdragon family with pale lavender flowers.
Federal officials say they will issue a new rule on the listing when funding permits.