Conservation Groups Allege ESA Violations Concerning Large Development Project in Palm Beach County, Florida

Yesterday, on behalf of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition; Sierra Club Florida, led by its Loxahatchee Group; South Florida Wildlands Association; and the Green Party of Palm Beach County, we submitted a formal notice of violations of the Endangered Species Act in connection with the Scripps Briger Phase II Project slated for construction in Palm Beach County, Florida.  The 700-acre parcel selected for project construction and operation is one of the last remaining forested tracts of land in heavily developed Palm Beach County, and thus serves as a critical refuge for many wildlife species including the federally threatened Eastern indigo snake.  In reviewing the impacts to the snake and its habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took a glass-half-empty approach by viewing this parcel as degraded habitat due to the highly developed character of the parcels surrounding it – rather than the glass-half-full approach of viewing this as a vital refuge for wildlife pushed off of other parcels by rapid development – and, in turn, authorized heavy development of this parcel without consideration of any measures to ensure that the development and Eastern indigo snakes can co-exist on this parcel, or at minimum any measures to avoid the death of all snakes currently using the parcel.  The formal notice can be found here.