The first delisting petition we filed, June 2014, was to remove the Bone cave harvestman, a microscopic terrestrial karst invertebrate, or cave bug, from the federal endangered species list. We filed this action because the best available science demonstrated the species was not endangered, was well protected, and should never have been added to the list. It was primarily listed because biologists knew very little about the species, and therefore did not know how to find the bugs. Current and best available data shows they are abundant and resilient in the central Texas region.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a negative 90-day finding a year later, June 2015. We sued, and in December 2016, the Service voluntarily requested the original finding be remanded back to them, as they had failed to consider the substantial new science provided. In May of 2017, the Service issued its second negative 90-day finding. We sued once again, but this time, the court made a significant ruling, finding in part that “the Service violated its regulations when it required [ASL] to essentially present conclusive evidence about the [BCH’s] population trends—more evidence than the Service admits is available or attainable.”
Prevailing in the lawsuit also entitled the reimbursement of attorney’s fees, which the Service paid.
October 2019, the Service issued its third 90-day finding, this time agreeing the Petition presented substantial scientific and commercial information and that delisting may be warranted. We are still waiting for them to issue the 12-month finding, however, now a year overdue. This prompted our third Notice of Intent to Sue delivered September 3, 2021. They now have 60 days to issue their 12-month decision or find themselves back in court.
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