NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Hundreds Of Millions To Save Eight Endangered Flies

August 26, 1999

"For years, people have said we were overblowing the effects of this endangered species taking scheme, and said it was just a myth," says expert Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis. "But guess what? Counties are finding out it's not a myth, and some counties are defaulting on millions in loans from bonds they've issued."

"Now the problem has come home to roost in a very populated area," he adds, "and it's just a mess out there."

Burnett is referring to the endangered Delhi Sands flies -- with a known population of only eight -- which have led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to stall construction of California projects worth millions of dollars.

  • When the only fly on the endangered species list was discovered in San Bernardino County, the USFWS ordered officials to come up with $220 million to acquire land where the flies could survive before they could proceed with plans to build a school and a hospital.
  • In Fontana, Calif., developers' hopes of building $500 million worth of homes, shopping centers and strip malls have been dashed by the federal government in order to save the flies -- at the same time jeopardizing payback of $42 million in bonds.
  • Some $11 million to build an electrical substation at Colton, Calif., is tied up because of concern for the flies.

The inch-long flies' only known breeding grounds are the Delhi Sands dunes about 60 miles from Los Angles, which stretch through portions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Source: Audrey Hudson, "Endangered Fly Swats California Developers," Washington Times, August 26, 1999.


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