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Conservationists to sue federal government over species protections

National Park Service
The Center for Biological Diversity plans to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over protections for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owls (pictured) along with more than a dozen other species of plants and animals.

A national conservation group says it plans to sue the federal government for failing to protect 15 plants and animals in the U.S.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the imperiled species include the Peñasco least chipmunk in southwestern New Mexico, the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl found in the Sonoran Desert, and several others in Texas, California and elsewhere.

The center says delays in putting Endangered Species Act protections in place by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service puts the species at a greater risk of extinction.

In addition, the group accused the agency of struggling to provide timely safeguards for decades, and says species wait an average nine years for protections when it’s supposed to take two.