Judge sets deadline for decision on butterfly

By Mateusz Perkowski, Capital Press

PORTLAND — A federal judge has given the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until the end of June 2015 to decide whether to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the Leona’s little blue butterfly, a rare species found only in Oregon’s Klamath County.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman has given the agency more time than was requested by environmental groups, but he said it would be a hard deadline.

“I don’t expect to see any requests for extensions,” Mosman said on July 15. “I expect the agency to pay adequate attention to this case, which has been languishing.”

The Xerces Society and other groups asked the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2010 to extend federal protection to the species, which occupies a small patch of private property east of Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park.

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