Author: Brandon Middleton
In Pacific Legal Foundation's effort to have the valley elderberry longhorn beetle removed from the Endangered Species Act list, we represent Central Valley flood control agencies who have had to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars toward VELB mitigation efforts instead of actual flood control projects.
Levee District 1 in Sutter County, for example, spent $387,000 to make sure a new setback levee complied with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service VELB protection demands. That's $387,000 of taxpayer resources down the drain for a beetle that doesn't need it, and thanks to the Service's refusal to recognize that the beetle is no longer a threatened species.
In this video, Reclamation District 784 (which is also a PLF client) General Manager Steve Fordice discusses with ABC News10 the length and efforts he and his district have to go through simply to get a flood permit which satisfies the Service's concerns:
Even environmental groups seem to recognize the absurdity of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's outdated VELB regulations. As River Partners' John Carlon says in the clip, "If the science indicates it should be taken off the endangered species list, we're all for that."
The Service, apparently, doesn't approve of such logical thinking and continues to stubbornly maintain the VELB's regulatory status as a threatened species. This comes at the cost of sound science, wasted taxpayer resources, and diminished flood control–I'm sure I'm repeating myself when I say that it is utter nonsense for the Service to refuse to effectuate its own recommendation to take the VELB off of the ESA list.