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ASL’s Beetle Petition Leads to Formal Status Review

by | Mar 16, 2016 | Delisting | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its finding that American Stewards of Liberty’s (ASL) petition to delist the American Burying Beetle presented “substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted.”

In August of last year, American Stewards of Liberty, along with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, Texas Public Policy Foundation and Dr. Steven W. Carothers, filed a petition to remove the American Burying Beetle (“Beetle”) from the Endangered Species List.

The Beetle has been on the endangered species list since 1989, and is known to occur in ten states:  Arkansas, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Texas. The listing has cost local governments, landowners and industries millions of dollars in efforts to avoid impacting the species.

When the Service did not respond ASL’s petition within the statutorily prescribed 90-days, the group issued a Notice of Intent to sue on January 20, 2016.  This week’s announcement by the Service was a major victory for ASL’s supporters and partners.

ASL filed the petition largely because the Service’s position to list the species was not based on scientifically defensible, range-wide studies of presence/absence or abundance.  Additionally, today there is no evidence the Beetle is in danger of extinction across all or a significant portion of its contemporary range. The known contemporary range, distribution, and abundance of the Beetle are expanding.

At the time of listing, the Service was unable to identify any actual threats to current populations of the Beetle and more recent analyses of threats are based largely on speculation and surmise.  However, the cost to taxpayers to protect the Beetle has been substantial.

The Service’s “warranted” announcement for the Beetle was made along with 15 other species petitioned for delisting.  However, the Service denied the petitions for 13 species, one of which was the Navasota Ladies’-tresses (NLT).  ASL had petitioned for the delisting of this species last year as well.  The group is preparing a legal challenge on the NLT decision.

For more information on the Beetle and NLT petitions as well as the other species ASL has pushed to be removed from the endangered species list, go to our Delisting page.

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