We recently filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the Navasota ladies’-tresses, a late summer flowering orchid that is currently known to reside in 13 Texas counties. Our petition triggers the statutory requirement for the Service to make a determination within 90 days as to whether or not delisting is warranted. Instead of issuing the required finding, the Service sent a letter one month after our filing, stating that it did not have the funds to review our petition this year. What’s even more vexing is that the Service didn’t give any indication of when it could meet its own requirements—essentially, it sounds like the Service’s staff will get around to it when they can. This an unacceptable response. And in the Service’s own words, here’s what Acting Regional Director, Joy E. Nicholopoulos, had to say about it:

“We are currently required to complete a significant number of listings and critical habitat actions in Fiscal Year 2015, including: complying with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements requiring that petition findings or listing determinations be completed by a specific date, section 4 (of the Act) listing actions with absolute statutory deadlines, and high-priority listing actions. Complying with these court orders, settlement agreements and other statutory deadlines will require us to spend most of our resources on these actions during Fiscal Year 2015. Therefore, we are not able to address your petition to delist the federally endangered Navasota ladies’-tresses at this time.”

At this time, American Stewards of Liberty is preparing to file a Notice of Intent to sue.