Cornyn Fights Premature Listing of Texas Species

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment today to reduce funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) listing activities for species in two recent settlements with environmental groups, including the Central Texas Salamanders and Lesser Prairie Chicken. His proposal, introduced as an amendment to the first Senate budget in nearly four years, would cut funding available for listing determinations for species that are based on arbitrary decision deadlines, reached in closed-door settlements of litigation under theEndangered Species Act:

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Global temperatures “likely” to set a new record this year

The Texas state climatologist — the top climate official in one of the most conservative states in the country — has predicted that this year probably will be the warmest on record.

In his periodic report on Texas weather and crops released this week, Texas A&M University atmospheric scientist John Nielsen-Gammon said:

Global temperatures have been relatively flat for the past several years. Some people use that information to try to imply that global warming has stopped. But it turns out that the factors causing global warming are still there, it’s just that the El Niño-La Niña cycle has temporarily trended cooler and has partially masked the warming. In the tropical Pacific, there’s actually fairly cold water just below the surface. With a La Niña event, that cold water is drawn all the way up to the surface, and interacts with the atmosphere and causes it to be cooler. If you leave the refrigerator door open, the room will be a little cooler. If my forecast is correct, and there’s no La Niña to hide the underlying warming trend, global surface temperatures are likely to increase and set a new record this year.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Update

This week the *Bell County coalition of stakeholders – Bell County, Clearwater UWCD, Salado WSC, Jarrell-Schwertner WSC, and Village of Salado – filed a second round of public comment on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS’s”) proposal to list the Salado Salamander as an endangered species. The Coalition’s filing bolstered its position that measures are already in place in Bell County that protect spring flow and spring habitat of the Salado Salamander. This comment concluded that “[b]ased on studies conducted to date, the stakeholders continue to be of the position that the Salado Salamander does not merit listing and that designation of critical habitat is unnecessary to protect the survivability of the Salado Salamander.” Bell County separately filed a detailed explanation why USFWS had incorrectly classified certain important areas as critical habitat.

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