PLF petition says new science demands delisting the Stephens’ kangaroo rat
SACRAMENTO, CA; November 17, 2014: New scientific findings require federal officials to recognize that the Stephens’ kangaroo rat is not endangered or threatened, so it should be removed from the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) list.
So argues a petition for delisting filed recently by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) attorneys, on behalf of the Riverside County Farm Bureau and the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy, and Reliability (CESAR).
Found in Riverside and San Diego Counties, the Stephens’ kangaroo rat was added to the ESA list in 1988. In response to a previous petition for delisting, the Fish and Wildlife Service initially acknowledged that taking the rat off the ESA list might be warranted. But after PLF sued to compel follow-up action, the agency ultimately issued a finding to retain the listing. Nevertheless, it still admits that the species is healthier today than in 1988.
In any case, new scientific findings require the agency to reconsider and finally remove the rat from the ESA list, according to PLF’s petition.
“Our petition is based on a new population analysis by CESAR scientists, showing that the various populations of this rat species are not isolated and cut off from each other, as had been assumed when the rat was added to the ESA list,” said PLF Principal Attorney Damien M. Schiff. “In other words, the core assumption and contention on which the listing was based has been shown to be inaccurate.
“Withdrawing this unnecessary listing is important for the scientific credibility of ESA regulations, and also for the interests of taxpayers and landowners,” Schiff continued. “Over the years, regulations for this rat have blocked responsible use of public and private property. The rat listing has also undermined public health and safety, by impeding brush clearing and other fire prevention efforts. It’s time to do the public a service by ending a listing that makes no sense and isn’t supported by the best and latest science.”
The case is In re Petition to Delist the Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat. Find more information about this case on PLF’s website.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulation, in courts nationwide. PLF represents all clients free of charge.