Author: Brandon Middleton
This will be the final post in this week's series, "Federal funding for a beetle that doesn’t need it: your taxpayer dollars at work."
The point I've tried to drive home is the absurdity of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spending significant amounts of our money to protect the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB), when in fact the Service has determined that the VELB no longer requires federal protection. And this isn't a determination that was made yesterday–the Service made the VELB delisting recommendation in 2006, so why has the agency taken so long to remove the VELB from the Endangered Species Act? Especially when the Service is aware of how its VELB restrictions deprive landowners of their property rights, impede flood control projects, and add substantial costs to California infrastructure projects at a time when the Golden State isn't quite flush with cash.
In 2009, officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated that "[a] delisting rule is currently being reviewed by the Washington office." More than a year later, that review is apparently still incomplete, and the Service has provided no explanation for while it is so difficult to delist the VELB.
The Service's delay tactics are costing Americans hundreds of thousands of dollars and are simply indefensible. For the good of taxpayers and the sake of regulatory common sense, the Service needs to begin the VELB delisting process. And if it doesn't, then the Service will have to justify yet another VELB-related expense: the defense of a lawsuit brought by Pacific Legal Foundation to end the Service's VELB shenanigans.