June 1, 2012

PLF petition to reclassify six species under ESA worthy of full review

By Brian T. Hodges Senior Attorney

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that, on Monday, it will publish an “initial finding” on our petition to delist and/or downlist six ESA-listed species in California and Oregon.  Last December, PLF and several agricultural organizations filed a petition seeking to remove the Inyo California towhee from the list of threatened species, and to reclassify five other species from “endangered” to “threatened”: the arroyo toad, Indian Knob mountain-balm, Lane Mountain milk-vetch, Modoc sucker, and Santa Cruz cypress.  The petition was based entirely on the Service’s scientific data, which recommended reclassification of those species in 2008 and 2009.  We filed the petition because the Service failed to act on its own recommendations.

An initial finding means that the Service agrees that our petition “presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating” that the reclassifications may be warranted.  The Service will now take a closer look at the status of each species, and must make a final determination by December whether the species should be delisted or downlisted.

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