GEORGETOWN, Texas (AP) -- 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 (http://bit.ly/WtwYdk ) 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.