SACRAMENTO — Prompted by litigation from Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), federal officials Oct. 1 proposed that the valley elderberry longhorn beetle be removed from the federal Endangered Species Act list, because it no longer needs protection.
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Although final removal would take another year, after public input is solicited, the decision is a decisive step toward taking the beetle off the federal list.
The decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comes in response to PLF litigation — most recently, an April, 2011 lawsuit — to compel FWS to begin the delisting process. A study by FWS several years ago indicated the beetle is not threatened, but FWS failed to follow up with a formal finding to start the delisting process — until PLF sued.
“Today’s announcement is good news for California’s economy, for property rights, and for honesty and integrity in environmental regulations,” said PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff. “The beetle isn’t endangered or threatened, so heavy-handed restrictions on landowners and businesses aren’t needed in order to help the beetle. These beetle regulations have also made it more expensive to shore up levies and protect the public from floods. It is regrettable that the federal government had to be sued to do its duty and start the process of taking the beetle off the endangered species list. We will be monitoring closely to make sure that delisting actually happens, so the economy and public safety won’t continue to be endangered by these unjustified regulations.”
In its lawsuit, PLF attorneys represent — free of charge — a coalition of California landowners, businesses, farmers, and flood-control agencies.
Plaintiffs include Levee District 1, Reclamation District 784, Butte County Farm Bureau, Solano County Farm Bureau, Yolo County Farm Bureau, Sacramento Valley Landowners Association, and North Sacramento Land Co.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (pacificlegal.org) is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. Among its noteworthy species-regulation cases, PLF won the federal court ruling that removed the bald eagle from the federal ESA list.