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Feds Dragged Feet on Adding Minnow to Endangered List, Enviro Group Claims

LAS VEGAS (CN) - An environmental watchdog group says the feds dragged their feet on its request to place the Northern Leatherside Chub on the endangered species list. The small minnow makes its home in mid-elevation desert streams in Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

WildEarth Guardians says in its federal lawsuit that the fish are "imperiled by habitat destruction and degradation resulting from irrigation, water diversion and road crossings," along with "non-native fish that prey on and compete with the chub."

The group says it petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007 to list the chub as a threatened or endangered species. But, they claim the feds failed to make a 90-day finding on their petition as required by law.

The group then sued in federal court, but that case was settled after U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar agreed to make a 90-day finding by Aug. 9, 2009.

It's been two years since the petition was first filed, and WildEarth says the fish still hasn't been placed on the endangered species list.

WildEarth seeks a declaration that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal environmental laws by failing to make a finding 12 months after a petition was filed.

Plaintiff is represented by Julie Cavanaugh-Bill.

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