Today, Pacific Legal Foundation filed a petition with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Southwest willow flycatcher from the list of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The petition explains how the best available science shows that the bird is not endangered, and not even eligible for listing under the ESA. Since it is not an endangered species, the Service should not be wasting time, money, and freedom by restricting human activities to protect it.
PLF is proud to represent the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability, which pulled the laboring oar in marshaling and explaining the scientific evidence for reclassifying the flycatcher. We are also representing several organizations in California and New Mexico, where unnecessary habitat protections have imposed hundreds of millions of dollars in needless costs on property use and development.
One of the perverse ways that the Service implements the ESA is listing animals as endangered based on thin evidence, conjecture, and activist anxiety. The ESA restricts the Service to considering the best available scientific data when making listing decisions, but the flycatcher listing is replete with assumptions and concerns in place of data. Then, the Service imposes higher data standards for delisting, even where the best data shows the species is not in any peril and never should have been listed. We do not intend to let the federal bureaucracy carry on this way; this petition forces the Service to make a decision based on the best available data, instead of vague concerns and assumptions.
An initial finding on the petition is due from the Service in 90 days.