“Dear Honorable President Obama:” begins a letter sent last week to the president by the East Hampton Town Trustees.
Members of the 300-year-old panel asked Mr. Obama to direct the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to delay the start of annual efforts to protect endangered shorebirds beyond April 1. That is the deadline for halting all activities that might endanger piping plovers and least terns during their breeding season, which ends in August. An extension would allow workers to continue restoring beaches ravished by Superstorm Sandy.
The trustees wrote: “In review of the Endangered Species Act of 1972, within section 7, a subsection labeled (p) is found exemptions in presidentially declared disaster areas. This paragraph allows you, Mr. President, to make a determination for the repair or replacement of a public facility [the beach] substantially as it existed prior to the disaster when it involves an emergency situation which does not allow the ordinary procedures of pertinent E.S.A. sections to be followed.”
The trustees also pointed out that many of the beaches where the threatened and endangered birds breed were stripped away by Sandy and the northeasters that followed.
“We ask that you grant this relief to ensure the repair and replacement of sand along our shorelines can continue past April 1, 2013, to facilitate the rebuilding of our community to its pre-disaster condition.”