Courts Rule Against Endangered Species

Two new rulings threaten America's endangered species.

First up, a win for the nation's construction industry: development projects will be allowed to continue even if it is discovered, after work begins, that it could endanger protected species. This doesn't give developers carte blanche, but it does give them more freedom to keep on destroying natural resources in the name of "progress." The National Association of Home Builders has argued that private landowners need financial "incentives" to protect endangered species. Conservation group Spirit of the Sage Council says this ruling will result in the loss of 39 million habitat acres.

Next, a huge loss for whales: the U.S. Navy will may continue testing underwater sonar blasts which could harm five species of endangered whales, among other sea creatures. In a 2-to-1 decision, an appeals court ruled that the nation's military needs outweigh the needs of endangered species. The tests had been blocked by a temporary injunction while the case is on appeal, a process which will now continue.

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