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Wed July 9, 2008
Preble's mouse removed from list
By Elsa Partan
Laramie, WY – Four conservation groups say they will sue to reinstate protections for the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse in Wyoming.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service decided to remove it from the threatened species list after determining that the animal is doing well in Wyoming.
Some state business leaders and politicians had been pushing for the de-listing, saying that it was holding back development.
Josh Pollock is the conservation director at the Center for Native Ecosystems in Denver. He says because the mouse's habitat is near streams, that's where protections will be lifted.
"It's certainly possible that there's some inappropriate development, things like building right up to the edge of streams and development that would really increase water contamination and erosion that could now be more possible with the removal of this protection," Pollock says.
Pollock says the move is an invalid interpretation of the endangered species act because it splits up areas of protection along state lines.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming attorney general's office and both of the state's U-S senators are praising the move.
Wyoming's assistant attorney general, Levi Martin says it's clear that the animal is thriving in Wyoming.
"We believe that the distribution and abundance science shows that the mouse is all over the place up here," Martin says. "I'm not sure that we necessarily agree that Preble's is a subspecies, but that's irrelevant in the big scheme of things."
The state had argued that Preble's was not a distinct species and supporters of the de-listing say protections harm economic growth.