Author: Brandon Middleton
Tomorrow morning at 4:45 am PDT (7:45, EDT), Fox News Channel’s nationally broadcast morning show, Fox & Friends, is scheduled to interview Bob Slobe, a Sacramento businessman who is barred from using his own property because of oppressive and unjustified federal environmental regulations.
California’s unemployment is the highest in five decades, and Bob wants to put people to work, building an office structure. But thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he can’t, because his land is designated as "critical habitat" for the "VELB" — the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle — a species listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.
Here’s the outrage: The feds themselves found that the VELB has recovered and is no longer a "threatened" species when they conducted a status review in 2006. But they’ve dragged their feet since then and the beetle has stayed on the ESA list.
With his land roped off from productive use, Bob has to spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to clean up after vagrants who camp out and employ it as an open-air trash bin (even using the bushes where beetles live for firewood). How's that for environmental protection!
Pacific Legal Foundation represents Bob and a broad coalition of businesses, farm owners and flood control districts, in a petition demanding that the feds act on their own recommendations and take the beetle off the ESA list.
The petition is the first step toward a lawsuit – if the feds don’t get off the dime and free Bob Slobe and his property, litigation will likely be necessary.