Suit Filed in Effort to Force Service to Act on Petition to Delist Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

The Pacific Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit (pdf) in order to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a determination whether to delist the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), a species with a distribution from southern Shasta County to Fresno County in California's Central Valley.  The lawsuit was reported by a number of news outlets including the Sacramento Bee (March 15, 2012, by Matt Weiser).

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle was listed by the Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1980.  At that time, the Service stated (pdf), with respect to the distribution of the species, that "[t]he beetle is present known from less than 10 localities in Merced, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties."  In a five-year status review of the species (pdf) completed in 2006, the Service stated that "[s]ince the time of listing, the number of sites from which the beetle is known has increased from less than 10 to approximately 190 (California Fish and Game 2006), primarily due to an increased effort to look for the beetle."  In the status review, the Service recommending delisting of the species.  A subsequent action plan (pdf) dated 2009, indicated that a delisting rule "is currently under review" at the Service's headquarters in Washington, D.C.  And in 2011, in response to a petition to delist the beetle, the Service made a preliminary determination (pdf) that delisting may be warranted.

The fact that the Service recommended delisting in 2006, and two lawsuits and six years later the species remains listed, suggests that the federal government is failing to properly administer the ESA.

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