Author: Brandon Middleton
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is funded by your money, and it is wasting it by regulating a beetle under the Endangered Species Act that is not even endangered. But the Service is not the only federal agency throwing cash and administrative resources at the healthy valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB).
In fact, due to the Service's failure to effectuate its staff's recommendation to delist the VELB, other federal agencies are forced to needlessly spend time and money on the VELB and bogus protection efforts.
In July 2010, for example, and as a result of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was enjoined from authorizing the use of numerous pesticides in areas containing VELB habitat while it determines the effects of these pesticides on the VELB and its habitat, as well the effects the pesticides had other species listed under the Endangered Species Act.
EPA (err, American taxpayers) had to pay CBD $172,000 in this case. On top of that, farmers are now unable to receive EPA approval for the use of important pesticides in areas located within 400 feet of VELB habitat–thanks in part to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's failure to take the VELB off of the list of protected species under the Endangered Species Act.
Meanwhile, the Service sees nothing wrong with requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to limit a flood control project in Sacramento because "22 elderberry stems greater than 1 inch in diameter at ground level would be located within 20 feet" of the project. The United States Forest Service also devotes its taxpayer resources towards a beetle that no longer requires federal protection.
It would be nice if EPA, the Corps, the Forest Service, and other federal agencies asked the U.S. and Wildlife Service to wake up and delist the VELB after years of delay. But it's your money that's at issue, not theirs, so don't count on it.