The California Construction and Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA), as part of a coalition, filed a lawsuit to challenge the process used by the California Fish and Game Commission to consider the western Joshua tree as a potentially threatened species.
“The California Legislature adopted very thoughtful and clear rules that the Commission must follow when determining whether a species should be protected under the California Endangered Species Act. This lawsuit seeks to require the Commission to follow these rules,” said Robert Dugan, president and CEO of CalCIMA.
“We are living in a time when people are being challenged to accept or deny science,” said Dugan. “We believe in science based on data. Not opinion. Not politics. The integrity of the California Endangered Species Act depends on the appropriate use of scientific data and facts.”
“The California Fish & Game Commission’s acceptance of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Petition to list the Joshua tree as a threatened species ignored multiple legal requirements for scientific data, as required under the California Endangered Species Act,” said Dugan.
“The credibility of the Act is at risk when applications are accepted that do not meet the minimum threshold for consideration.”
The lawsuit does not challenge the merits of whether the western Joshua tree should ultimately be protected under the California Endangered Species Act. Instead, the lawsuit asserts the petition for consideration did not meet basic, foundational requirements of the California Endangered Species Act to enable the Commission to determine whether such protection might be appropriate.
The coalition lawsuit includes CalCIMA, the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, California Business Properties Association, the High Desert Association of Realtors, and the City of Hesperia.
“We have joined this lawsuit since the member companies of CalCIMA seek to operate in a manner of responsible stewardship on working lands, based on strict requirements of science and law, and in pursuance of societal goals and needs. For the state to not follow its own legal and science requirements flaunts the social contract,” said Dugan. “By comparison, whenever any business needs a substantial permit, they must adhere to every requirement under applicable laws. There are no shortcuts. It is our hope that this lawsuit will help the Commission protect the Joshua tree in a manner dictated by complete data and the rigors of scientific analysis,” said Dugan.
“We remain willing to make available our resources to assist the Commission in achieving that goal,” Dugan concluded.