Friday, July 21, 2006

Nothing worse than a stressed pecker

If you think I’m kidding, read this (emphasis mine):

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. - A federal judge halted a $320 million irrigation project Thursday for fear it could disturb the habitat of a woodpecker that may or may not be extinct.

The National Wildlife Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation had sued the Army Corps of Engineers, arguing that the project to build a pumping station that would draw water from the White River would kill trees that house the birds and that noise from the station would cause the woodpeckers stress.

Lord knows we don’t want any stressed peckers out there. No telling what they’d do.

The problem here is no one has seen this damned bird – confirmed that is – since 1944.
A couple years back a kayaker claimed to have seen one, but nobody else did.

So what we have here is a two-year-old, unconfirmed claim about the existence of a bird that hasn’t really been seen in 60 years.

I’m no attorney, but I do understand the meaning of “preponderance of evidence.”

Here, in part, is U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson’s conclusion:

When an endangered species is allegedly jeopardized, the balance of hardships and public interest tips in favor of the protected species. Here there is evidence" that the ivory-billed woodpecker may be jeopardized, he said.

This conclusion, remember, is based on an unconfirmed sighting in 2004 and a confirmed sighting in 1944.

Using Judge Wilson’s logic, I can only assume, based on thousands of unconfirmed sightings over almost thirty years, that Elvis is alive and well.

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