The toad is the smallest toad within the western toad species complex and was only recently described by science in 2017
Ormat Technologies, a geothermal energy company that wants to build a geothermal power plant in Nevada is suing the United States Fish and Wildlife Service over the endangered species listing of the Dixie Valley toad (Bufo williamsi), an amphibian that was emergency listed as endangered in April 2022, and full endangered status in December 2022.
The company filed a 60-day notice of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying the listing of the toad in December was illegal as it doesn’t meet the definitional standard of threatened or endangered. The company went further to say the USFWS failed to base its decision to list the toad on the best scientific and commercial data available.
The lawsuit could have ramifications as it could bring the Department of Justice to defend the government’s decision to list the toad as endangered while defending the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the project. Those opposed to the geothermal plant say pumping hot water from under the surface of the earth to generate carbon-free power would have negative effects to the levels and temperatures of the surface water in which the toad inhabits, according to an ABC News report. The hot springs that feeds the wetlands are also sacred lands to the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, one of the parties that sued the BLM in 2022.
Dixie Valley Toad Information
The toad is the smallest toad within the western toad species complex and was only recently described by science in 2017. Unlike many other toad species, Dixie Valley toads are highly aquatic throughout much of their life cycle and are rarely found away from a body of water. It is currently found only in a 760-acre wetland ecosystem in Dixie Valley, northeast of Fallon, Nevada. The ecosystem is fed by hot springs.