Saving a bush and bug is out of control
The city of Porterville is having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of hundreds of thousands already spent to protect a beetle and the bush it lives in. It is a prime example of government out of control, especially in light that the government may delist the bug from the threatened species list.
It was recently reported the city will have to purchase 42 “credits” for $168,000 to mitigate the loss of five elderberry shrubs that are in the area where the city wants to widen the Jaye Street bridge over the Tule River. This comes after the city has already spent more than half of a million dollars to develop its elderberry shrub mitigation program off of Highway 190 along the Tule River east of Plano.
It is not the shrub that is protected, but the elderberry beetle that lives on the bush. The valley elderberry longhorn beetle was added to the federal threatened species list in 2005, but efforts began in 2011 to delist the bug, a move which would negate the city spending the money, but the damage the threatened bug has already caused will never be rectified.
The effort to delist the bug began with a lawsuit filed by several California farm bureaus after it was learned in 2011 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service found five years earlier the beetle was no longer “threatened.”
Taxpayers should be outraged the city must now pony up more than $160,000 just to remove five bushes, especially since the city has already planted scores of elderberry bushes at its mitigation site and that the USFWS has found the bug no longer threatened.
We know the city has sought ways to avoid the payment, but we can call on Assembly member Connie Conway, R-Tulare, state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, to come to the city’s aid. We also urge a strong letter writing campaign by citizens to stop the madness in trying to save a bug and a bush that have little value.