Oregon Pipeline Could Harm Butterfly, Flowers | Courthouse News Service
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Oregon Pipeline Could Harm Butterfly, Flowers

EUGENE, Ore., (CN) - A pipeline project for a water-strapped Oregonian city will harm endangered species of flower and butterfly, an environmental group claims in Federal Court.

"The effects of the project will result in urban, suburban, commercial, and industrial development and conversion of native prairie habitat, and the Fender's blue butterfly, the Bradshaw's lomatium, the Willamette daisy and the Kincaid's lupine will be adversely affected," the complaint states.

Development will also increase traffic in, around and through the Eugene wetlands, where the government plans to lay a pipeline that carries water from the Eugene Water and Electric Board source main.

Once completed, the 9.7 miles of 24-inch diameter water pipe will carry water to the Veneta reservoir.

But LandWatch Lane County claims that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal law by not preparing supplemental analysis for the pipeline project.

"Urban, suburban, commercial and industrial development and agricultural conversion are a significant threat to the viability and recovery of the" these endangered species," according to the complaint.

The nonprofit claims that the agency violated the Administrative Procedures Act by "issuing a concurrence letter that is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law."

That letter said the project "would not likely adversely affect" endangered species that inhabit the area, but LandWatch says this is untrue.

The project and the urban growth that it will facilitate will indeed adversely affect the butterfly and two plants, according to the complaint.

Failure to account for this expansion constituted a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, the group says.

"The cumulative effect of the reasonably foreseeable Urban Growth Boundary expansion in the city of Eugene and the project will jeopardize the aforementioned endangered species in addition to other environmental impacts," the complaint states.

Fish and Wildlife guidelines define harm as "significant habitat modification or degradation which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering," according to the complaint.

Helping Veneta to expand with an increased water supply allegedly violates this rule.

LandWatch wants the court set aside the letter as "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law."

It is represented by attorney Sean Malone.

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