Saving Our Salamander
It's back to square one for the Save Our Springs Alliance and two federal agencies charged with protecting the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. SOS filed another lawsuit this week against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, claiming neither agency complied with a settlement agreement reached in the first lawsuit that SOS filed against the pair in June 2000. As part of last year's settlement, Fish & Wildlife examined the EPA's management of its stormwater construction permits in the Austin area, and found the agency's oversight sorely lacking -- as evidenced by Fish & Wildlife's findings of water degradation in Barton Springs. Since last summer's findings, neither agency has acted to strengthen regulatory oversight. "It's unfortunate the federal agencies are forcing us to return to court, but we have no other choice." SOS attorney Amy Johnson said in a statement. Meanwhile, she added, "Development is continuing."