Federal Judge Sides with Environmentalists on Penstemon Lawsuit

The decision made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to not list two common Basin flowers as threatened or endangered is at risk following a federal judge’s ruling this week. Judge William J. Martinez sided with environmental groups including SUWA and Rocky Mountain Wild that filed a civil suit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, State of Utah, SITLA and Uintah County, stating that their 15-year Conservation Agreement aimed at preserving the Graham’s beardtongue and White River beardtongue flowers does not do enough to save the flowers in oil and gas development sites. Rather than vacate the Fish and Wildlife’s decision not to list the plant species, the Court is requiring the parties to meet in person and discuss if the Conservation Agreement can be modified in a manner to satisfy the environmental group’s concerns for the plants. Specifically, the court requires the group discuss increasing the 300 foot buffer around each plant because the environmental groups insist that the buffer be over 1,500 feet to “conserve pollinators essential for plant reproduction.” All parties are required to meet in person to discuss modifications to the Conservation Agreement on or before February 21st.

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Kristin Baldwin

Kristin never planned to work in news radio but has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the news team at KVEL. Her love of literature and writing developed in high school which led her to study English Literature and Technical Writing at BYU. She received her BA in English from BYU in 2005 and studied at UVU in Orem for 2 semesters to become a Certified Technical Writer in 2006. Two months after completion she began her dream job of being a stay-at-home mom.  As mother of 2 energetic kids, she began writing from home for the KVEL news team in 2011 and considers it the perfect fit as a full time mom and part time writer.