New brief: PLF challenges gray wolf ‘endangered’ listing in California

December 18, 2018 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

A single sighting of a wolf that had crossed over into California from Oregon—that’s all it took for Golden State bureaucrats to declare the gray wolf as a protected species under the state’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). That ill-fated decision has significant implications for farmers, ranchers and other property owners in California.

Yesterday, we filed our final merits brief in California Cattlemen’s Association v. California Fish & Game Commission, challenging the listing of the gray wolf as an endangered species under the California ESA. The brief re-emphasizes our three main arguments against the wolf’s listing.

  • First, the listing is based on the presence within the state of a single wolf that is not native to California. That’s problematic because, unlike the federal ESA, the current California ESA of 1984 protects only “native species or subspecies.”
  • Second, the listing is based just on the wolf’s status in California only, but the California ESA requires the listing analysis to be focused on the species’ “range” without qualification.
  • Finally, the listing is founded upon the intermittent presence of a single gray wolf (who subsequently left the state and settled down in Oregon). Such passing, vagrant presence in the state is insufficient as a matter of law to establish a listable “range.”

Our hearing is next month in San Diego Superior Court.