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Environmental group wants protections restored for Louisiana black bear

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File photo of black bear. Courtesy of MGN Online File photo of black bear. Courtesy of MGN Online

An environmental group has sent a notice of a possible suit against US Wildlife and Fisheries over the protections of the Louisiana black bear.

 An impending suit by Washington-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) contends that the 2016 removal of the Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species Act was premature.

 The group says in their notice that the removal of the species was done prematurely and based on false premises which "flew in the face of a wealth of the best available science".

 The Louisiana black bear was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1992, but in 2015, US Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the species had recovered, prompting a removal from the list in May of 2016. Now, the PEER group wants to place the bear back on the list as a threatened species.

In a release, PEER states that the notice was co-signed by the Atchafalaya Basin Keepers, the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West and three prominent experts on black bears including Harold Schoeffler.

"Delisting the Louisiana black bear was a badly misguided attempt to pull an Endangered Species Act success story out of the hat," stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting that if the FWS does not re-list the bear within 60 days, then PEER and its co-signers may sue FWS to force that action. "We do not believe stripping the Louisiana black bear of all federal protections withstands judicial scrutiny."

The notice argues that the delisting decision puts the bear in greater jeopardy. According to the Associated Press, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Phil Kloer said the service by stands by the "de-listing" decision. He declined to comment on points in PEER's lawsuit notice.

The Louisiana Black Bear is one of 16 subspecies of American black bear. Read the notice below:

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