NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Saving an Endangered Fly -- And Its Natural Habitat, A Garbage Dump

October 3, 2002

Colton, Calif., is host to an illegal dump, which city officials want to clean up. But federal officials won't permit it because the dump sits atop an expanse of sand that is the habitat of the endangered Delhi Sands fruit-loving fly -- the only fly on the endangered species list.

  • Since this particular fly qualified under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, it has thwarted both public and private development projects.
  • The city says the protected dunes, mostly in private hands, have turned into an illegal dumping area, but that federal rules ban the use of heavy machinery on the dunes for fear it will disturb the fly larvae.
  • Officials from the cities of Colton, Rialto and Fontana -- along with authorities from the San Bernardino County government -- are being forced to lobby Congress to get the Delhi Sands fly delisted.
  • But political observers give their efforts little chance of success.

Another option is trying to get Washington to pay some price for actions that cause major economic hardship for landowners or local governments. Ideally, the federal government should be required to buy land that it want to place off-limits to development, observers say.

Source: Editorial, "Call the Swat Team," Investor's Business Daily, October 3, 2002.


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