February 24, 2016

Bureaucrats abdicate duty 233 times. PLF sues.

By Wen Fa Attorney

The California Endangered Species Act charges the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the task of conducting status reviews for endangered and threatened species at least once every five years. The Department has listed 235 species as endangered or threatened for more than five years. It has only conducted status reviews for two of them.

The Department’s abdication of its duty to perform the status reviews, as mandated by the CESA, is plainly to the detriment of California citizens. Periodic status reviews safeguard property owners from needless fines and penalties. And they ensure that taxpayer money isn’t wasted on administering recovery plans for species erroneously listed as threatened or endangered.

As an example, seven of the species listed under the CESA have already been reclassified or recommended for reclassification by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the Federal ESA. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has not conducted status reviews for any of those species within the last five years, and has no idea whether reclassification is also appropriate under California law.

PLF has had success getting the federal government to conduct mandatory status reviews of species listed under the federal ESA. Today we filed a lawsuit against the Department to compel it to conduct status reviews in accordance with California law. The law requires the Department to conduct five-year status reviews for all listed species; two out of 235 is just not good enough.

 

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California Cattlemen’s Association v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Representing the California Cattlemen’s Association, PLF filed a petition for writ of mandamus to have declared unlawful the department’s failure to conduct mandatory 5-year status reviews of 233 plant and animal species listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). By abdicating its duty to conduct these mandatory reviews, the state unlawfully failed to determine which species could be downlisted, where such downlisting would restore to landowners productive use of their property.

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