Texas county disputes estimate to save salamanders
Texas county disputes federal $29M economic impact estimate to protect 4 salamander species
Consultants for a Central Texas county say the economic impact of listing four salamander species as endangered could top half a billion dollars — not $29 million projected by the U.S. government.
The Austin American-Statesman reports consultants for the Williamson County Conservation Foundation on Tuesday disputed the federal figures. Consultant Mike Weaver cited discrepancies over how fast the Austin-area county will grow and potential lost tax revenue.
The county responded to a January report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency estimated a $29 million economic impact cost over 23 years to protect salamander habitats in Williamson, Travis and Bell counties.
A federal decision is expected this summer on listing the Austin blind salamander, the Jollyville Plateau salamander, the Georgetown salamander and the Salado salamander as endangered.
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