A dozen environmental groups sued the U.S. government yesterday for failing to meet a deadline to protect the Canada lynx under the Endangered Species Act. The enviros accused the feds of delaying a July 1998 proposal to list the big cat as threatened in the lower 48 states, and lamented the fact that the government is still lagging though they have filed four suits over the issue in the last 10 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that it missed its most recent deadline of Jan. 8 for making a decision on protecting the lynx, but they say a decision will be issued soon, possibly within a couple weeks. The Minnesota government has been a vocal opponent of listing the lynx as threatened under the ESA because the move could disrupt logging and road-building in forest areas.