VIDEO: News10 on PLF’s fight against beetle
regs that hinder flood protection
SACRAMENTO, CA; September 28, 2010: KXTV, News10 – Sacramento’s ABC-TV affiliate – recently broadcast a report on Pacific Legal Foundation’s petition for removal of the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB) from the federal Endangered Species Act protected list. The PLF case is Yolo County Farm Bureau v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The segment reports how federal land use restrictions to protect the VELB are burdening the reclamation districts that are charged with providing flood protection in Central California.
“[I]f reclamation districts are working on a levee and find elderberry bushes in the way,” reports News10 correspondent Jonathan Mumm, “they can’t just cut them down – because the elderberry bush is the sole habitat of the elderberry longhorn beetle.” Instead, they have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on “mitigation” – including transplanting the bushes and planting new seedlings.
Steve Fordice, general manager of Yuba County’s Reclamation District 784, tells how steep the cost can get – in terms of time (and public safety) as well as dollars and cents. “It cost the taxpayer approximately $1.2 million for this facility,” said Fordice while standing at a site along a stretch of levee outside of Marysville. “It took approximately a year to get the permit and go through all the process.”
All of these expenses are forced on public agencies – and private landowners – despite the fact that the VELB is not in danger and shouldn’t be on the ESA protected list! FWS itself reached this conclusion four years ago! But government officials have “dragged their feet” and the VELB stays on the ESA list, PLF attorney Brandon Middleton explains to News10. This is why PLF has had to file a petition demanding that federal officials act on their own findings – and finally delist the VELB.
Brandon M. Middleton
The petition is the first step toward bringing a lawsuit if the government continues to stall.
PLF’s petition is filed on behalf of a broad coalition of farmers, flood-control districts, and business people – including Sacramento property owner Bob Slobe, who is also featured in the News10 report. He wants to put people to work building an office structure on his property – but he can’t because of the unjustified VELB regulations.
The PLF case is Yolo County Farm Bureau v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The petition and supporting documents may be found at PLF’s Website.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading public interest legal organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. Among PLF’s noteworthy victories: The federal court ruling that led to the bald eagle being removed from the ESA list. A brief video about PLF’s history and mission includes comments by former United States Attorney General Edwin J. Meese III.