It's like we're living in the Twilight Zone. I admit I'd prefer NEW construction to stop to protect the habitats of wild animals - but when you've got an already existing town that needs to repair itself and it can't because of a mouse - not a wolf or a lion or a tiger or a bear but a mouse - not as bad as a fish, buts still, it's ridiculous.
FEMA's going to pay for the litigation? And where are they going to get the money for that? OUR TAX DOLLARS!
WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Federal Emergency
Management Agency is warning that many flood repair projects could be
delayed because they are in an endangered mouse’s habitat.
The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is listed as a threatened species,
which means it and its habitat are protected by federal law. Its habitat
lies along rivers and stream beds where flood repairs are underway.
The news upset Colorado State Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, who represents
many of the flooded communities. He sent a letter to Colorado’s
congressional delegation asking it to intervene saying the federal
government has put a mouse ahead of Colorado families.
“We’re holding up the ability to redo safe drinking water, to rebuild
sewage treatment facilities so we can keep sewage out of the rivers,
trying to have a safe environment because of a mouse,” said Sonnenberg.
According to him, communities have to delay repairs after FEMA issued
a warning that local governments could lose federal funding if they
violate the Endangered Species Act.
The mouse is causing controversy with some Colorado scientists, saying it isn’t even endangered.
“This mouse has cost millions of dollars to Colorado taxpayers
already. It threatens the livelihood of agriculture and now it’s
threatening flood recovery efforts. This is absolutely incredible,” said
United States Rep. Cory Gardner.
Gardner, whose district was hit hard by the floods, wrote a letter to
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service asking for a waiver from
the Endangered Species Act. Fish and Wildlife said that so far projects
have only been delayed a couple days.
However, Gardner said flooded communities can’t afford any delay as they race to make repairs before the spring runoff.
“The fact that so many people were impacted, thousands of people lost
their homes or had their homes damaged, and here we are having federal
relief dollars held up by a mouse that may not even be endangered. It’s
absolutely ridiculous,” said Gardner.
Gardner said that if Fish and Wildlife doesn’t grant a waiver quickly he will draft legislation.
A Weld County commissioner said he asked FEMA two months ago about the mouse and was told it wouldn’t be a problem.
FEMA said that it is simply following federal law and that it has
added staff to expedite the process and will pay for any mitigation
necessary to accommodate the mouse habitat.