Bishop: Save the Manatees

Rep. Rob Bishop says the Obama administration’s efforts to shutter coal-fired power plants could harm Florida’s endangered manatees, which rely on discharge waters from power plants for winter warmth.

Reports McClatchy DC:

From November to April, hundreds of manatees huddle in the warm discharge canal of one of Florida’s biggest coal-fired plants, the Big Bend Power Station near Tampa, as camera-toting families point and laugh from a viewing deck at the gentle creatures lolling near the smokestacks.

Some two-thirds of Florida’s endangered manatees rely on discharge waters from power plants for winter warmth, according to federal biologists. It’s a fact that congressional Republicans are seizing on to challenge the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s agenda to fight climate change, a plan to slash carbon emissions that could force large-scale closures of coal plants.

The chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources confronted U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on the issue at a budget hearing Thursday. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the Fish and Wildlife Service is required to formally consult on any plan that could pose problems for an endangered species.