Protection Sought for Flying Squirrel

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Secretary of the Interior for refusing to make nondiscretionary findings on whether to protect nine species, including a flying squirrel.
     The Tucson-based environmental group sued Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in Federal Court.
     It claims the defendants have refused "to make statutorily-required findings on whether to list nine species as endangered or threatened under the ESA [Endangered Species Act]."
     "These species are experiencing steep population declines and myriad threats to their existence. They are: the Ichetucknee siltsnail (Floridobia mica); the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinas californicus); a distinct population of the black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) that occurs in California and Oregon; a distinct population of the black-backed woodpecker that occurs in South Dakota; the Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandii); the Atlantic pigtoe (Fusconaia masoni); the slenderclaw crayfish (Cambrus cracens); the Barrens darter
     (Etheostoma forbesi); and the holiday darter (Etheostoma brevirostrum)."
     The Center for Biological Diversity claims that in response, or lack of response, to its petitions, the defendants failed to make mandatory 12-month findings on whether protections for the species are warranted. It asks the court to order them to do so "by reasonable dates certain."
     The Center for Biological Diversity is represented by staff attorney Amy R. Atwood, of Portland, Ore.