Lawsuit Filed to Take Golden-Cheeked Warbler, the Bane of Developers, Off Endangered Species List

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For years, the Golden-cheeked Warbler, a migratory bird which nests in the Texas Hill Country, has blocked development and led to scrambling over the protection of the Camp Bullis military reservation.  But the bird may have warbled its last tune, as the Texas General Land Office and a conservative group, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, have filed suit to get it removed from the Endangered Species list, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Leaving a species on the endangered list after its recovery is not only ineffective, it's irresponsible," said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. "The restoration of the golden-cheeked warbler population is a success story worth celebrating by removing it from the endangered list and restoring the rights of Texas landowners to effectively manage our own properties."

The lawsuit claims the warbler is now 19 times more common in the Hill Country than it was when it was placed on the Endangered Species Act.

"The purpose of listing the species has been accomplished," Bush said.

The lawsuit claims that the warbler is now so common that it is actually muscling out other species in the Hill Country, causing deterioration in their numbers as the warbler thrives.

For two decades, much of the action around Camp Bullis, Leon Springs, and northwest Bexar County has involved protecting the warbler, sometimes at high cost.

TPPF attorney Ted Hadzi-Antich says keeping the bird on the Endangered Species List has had the effect of 'effectivley keeping humans out of the environment,' an outcome Congress did not intend when the Endangered Species Act was created.

Taxpayers have been forced over the years to spend millions of dollars buying 'alternative habitat' to protect the warbler, and the Army has expressed concern about having to keep valuable training land at Camp Bullis wild in order to accommodate the warbler.

"Texans have a strong tradition of land conservation," said Commissioner Bush. "Texas ranchers, homeowners, and other landowners are in a much better position to protect these environments than federal bureaucrats in DC."

PHOTO' US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

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