June 23, 2014

Reason Foundation report on PLF's success challenging FWS' failure to downlist and delist species

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

Brian Seasholes of Reason Foundation reports on the proposed downlisting of the tidewater goby. You may recall that the proposal is the result of successful petitions and litigation filed by PLF to challenge the Service’s general refusal to perform ESA-mandated status reviews every five years, and to act on the review’s recommendation. Brian explains the paradox in the Service’s actions:

Advocates in the federal government and pressure groups claim the Act is a stunning success and complain that opponents of the law fail to acknowledge when species have improved. So it would seem Fish & Wildlife would jump at the chance to answer critics by downlisting the tidewater goby from endangered to the less-imperiled status of threatened. That this is not the case indicates something fishy is going on.

The tidewater goby is a useful tool to regulate water quantity and quality in streams that empty into the ocean all along the California coast and the large amounts of land within streams’ watersheds. Conservation of the species is a worthwhile pursuit and the goby population has improved. But in the late 2000s, when Fish & Wildlife should have been publishing the proposal to downlist the goby, the agency instead spent years going through the process to designate over 12,000 acres as critical habitat, a provision in the Endangered Species Act that allows for increased land-use controls.

The goby is just another in a long line of species the federal government is unwilling to delist or downlist but for the efforts of the Pacific Legal Foundation to stick up for landowners and make the government obey the law.

Read the rest of the report here.

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