DENVER — Several endangered species filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency here on Friday, claiming the department hires “thugs” who force them to pay “protection money” in order to stay alive.
The explosive lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind, is being led by a pair of Florida panthers who, along with the other endangered animals, say they’ve been “shaken down” by the EPA long enough.
“As members of the endangered species community, these animals understand they have a right to exist whether or note they pay off crooked government agents,” the lawsuit contends. “Staying alive shouldn’t come at such a high price.”
EPA officials defended the practice, citing the high cost of keeping just a few hundred or, in many cases, a few dozen, animals safe from extinction.
“Not sure what the big deal is,” Judd Perkins, a spokesman for the EPA in Washington, said. “What, do these bums think it’s free to protect them?”
The panthers were incensed.
“How would they like it if they were visited every month by a couple of thugs who demanded protection money from them?” said the female of the species, identified only as “Lisa” in the suit. “I’ll bet they’d get pretty sick and tired of seeing money that should go towards raising cubs go instead to a sadistic government agency.”
The male of the species, named “Pete” in the suit, said it wasn’t the money so much as it was the expectation that it be paid “or else.”
“Or else…what?” he said. “The only thing ‘or else’ could mean is, they’d let us die off. Who thinks like that?”
The panthers are joined in the class-action suit by some Devil’s Hole pupfish, Lesser Prairie Chickens, Delta Smelt, and a Bryde’s whale.