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      Snake suit filed against Uncle Sam

      An environmental group is suing the federal government over its delay in extending protection to a rare Midwestern snake. The Center for Biological Diversity filed its lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. It involves the Kirtland's snake, a prairie wetland species in severe decline because of habitat losses due to development. Attorney and biologist Collette Adkins Giese says listing the snake under the Endangered Species Act would help preserve its vanishing living areas, which also would help people because wetlands filter toxins from water and prevent flooding. The small, nonvenomous Kirtland's snake is found mostly in scattered metropolitan areas of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. The suit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which had no immediate comment.