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OF MICE & MEN

By January 27, 2011 No Comments

January 26, 2011

This week’s edition profiles a recent legal filing regarding federal endangered species law, an alert to property owners regarding property valuation and also includes a few quotable quotes in the news:

PERDIDO KEY: Pacific Legal Foundation Challenges Beach Mouse Rules in Florida & Alabama

A petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) by the Pacific Legal Foundation argues federal officials illegally cut corners when they designated 1,300 acres in Florida and Alabama as “critical habitat” for the Perdido Key beach mouse and they should cancel the designation immediately.

In this petition, PLF attorneys represent the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability (CESAR), a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that environmental regulatory decisions are based on sound science and are applied with consistency, transparency, and in accordance with the law.

The Perdido Key beach mouse is listed under the Endangered Species Act, and federal officials have designated parts of Escambia County, Fla., and Baldwin County, Ala., as “critical habitat” for the species. Critical habitat can lead to strict limits on the use of property, including private land. FWS has estimated that the economic impact of the critical habitat designation for several beach mice in the Florida panhandle and the Gulf Coast region of Alabama – including for the Perdido Key beach mouse – totals up to $174.9 million, mainly through limits on development projects.

The petition filed this week by PLF attorneys contends that FWS skipped a key step in making its critical habitat designations. The agency should have performed an analysis of the impact on the human environment, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), according to the PLF petition.

Federal officials went about this process in a very one-sided way,” said PLF attorney Damien M. Schiff. “They set aside land to protect a non-human species but ignored important human concerns. For example, how will land use restrictions for mice affect the economic and social development of cities, towns, and rural areas? Will the creation and growth of businesses be slowed or distorted in harmful ways, and will low-income communities be hurt disproportionately? These are the kinds of social concerns that NEPA forces government to address when it imposes environmental regulations. NEPA explicitly says it applies whenever federal regulations would significantly affect the ‘quality of the human environment.’ But in this critical habitat process, the feds took the lazy approach and simply acted as if they didn’t have to follow NEPA.”

The case is titled, In the Matter of the Petition to Rescind Critical Habitat for the Perdido Key Beach Mouse (Peromyscus Polionotus Trissyllepsis) under the Endangered Species Act. The rescission petition is available at PLF’s website(http://www.pacificlegal.org/). The Pacific Legal Foundation is a national legal watchdog for property rights with an Atlantic Center headquartered in Stuart, Florida.

CPR applauds PLF’s recent filing on behalf of Florida property owners!

VALUATION WATCH:

CPR President Doug Doudney wishes to alert property owners to the fact that local property appraisers are now posting the new “working values” online. Defend your right to fair valuation by checking property’s working value today.  If the working value assigned to your property is not an appropriate or fair value, you can ask to meet with your appraiser and seek an adjustment. A formal appeals process is also available. Take advantage of the benefit of time. A complete list of Florida property appraisers with quick links to each office can be found at: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/appraisers.html. Simply click on the name of your county appraiser in blue text.

QUOTES OF NOTE:

“Any bill that seeks to increase taxes at the state or local level will find a chilly reception in the Florida House.” – Statement by Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) as reported in the Orlando Sentinel (1/24/11).

“We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution.  We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try.  We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible.  No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.” – President Barack Obama, 2011 State of the Union Address 1/25/2011 (for a quick look at the full text visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-state-union-address.)

SUPPORT CPR:

If you value private property rights, you are invited to join CPR today as an official supporting member. CPR is a non-profit education and advocacy group whose work is supported by the generosity of the individual and corporate members who believe property rights should be promoted and defended. Join today – at any level – online at www.proprights.com/contribute/ where you can also print a membership form which can be mailed in to CPR, 2878 S. Osceola Avenue, Orlando, FL 32806. Donations of all sizes are appreciated and give CPR the financial “ammunition” we need to continue this important all-American fight. For information about corporate sponsorships or special gifts, please contact Executive Director Carol Saviak at 407-481-2289 or via email at carolsaviak@aol.com

Reader responses always welcomed! carolsaviak@aol.com

Carol Saviak
Executive Director
Coalition for Property Rights
2878 S. Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32806
407-481-2289
407-481-0834 fax

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