Central Coast Forest Association, supported by Pacific Legal Foundation as amicus curiae, has won a long running procedural battle in the California Supreme Court. The unanimous Court ruled that California’s Endangered Species Act allows interested parties to petition for a species to be removed from the state’s list of endangered species solely on the ground of error in declaring it endangered in the first place.
This seems like a fairly straight forward proposition, and fully consistent with practice under the federal Endangered Species Act. And yet it has been almost 13 years since CCFA first petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to delist Coho salmon south of San Francisco Bay, on the ground that they are not native to that region and ineligible for protection under the state ESA. During those many years, the Commission has twice refused to consider the petition, and twice been told by the Superior Court to do so. Then the California Court of Appeal ruled that petitions to correct erroneous listings are not even permitted under the California ESA.
The Supreme Court’s decision settles one question – that the CCFA’s petition may be filed with the Commission in the first instance. But the Supreme Court remanded to the Court of Appeal to determine whether the Commission must actually consider the petition, and whether the Commission may delist a species through a portion of its range, while leaving it protected in the rest. So, as they say on the radio, stay tuned. There is more to come in this dispute.
In the meantime, I recorded a podcast with the San Francisco Daily Journal that delves into the procedural aspects of this case, available at the Journal’s website here (dated March 3, 2017), on you can listen directly here or below.