“California’s native bumble bees will continue their precipitous decline unless they receive proper protections. Bees are integral to healthy ecosystems and the pollination services they provide serve all of us, making this decision exponentially more consequential for the protection of California’s biodiversity. We’re hopeful the appellate court will overturn this deeply flawed decision.”

Pamela Flick, California program director at Defenders of Wildlife
Sacramento, CA

Today, Center for Food Safety, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Xerces Society, represented by Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, announced they are appealing a November 2020 decision by the Sacramento County Superior Court that determined that the California Fish and Game Commission lacks authority to list four threatened bumble bee species as candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The California Fish and Game Commission has also filed notice of intent to appeal, challenging the court's ruling. 

“California’s native bumble bees will continue their precipitous decline unless they receive proper protections,” said Pamela Flick, California program director at Defenders of Wildlife. “Bees are integral to healthy ecosystems and the pollination services they provide serve all of us, making this decision exponentially more consequential for the protection of California’s biodiversity. We’re hopeful the appellate court will overturn this deeply flawed decision.”

“We believe an appeal is warranted as the lower court discounted key provisions of the Fish and Game Code, CESA's legislative history, and the case law, which together show that CESA protects insects,” said Matthew Sanders of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, and lead counsel in the case. 

“This case is critical to clarifying that insects such as bees qualify for protections under CESA, which are necessary to ensuring that populations of endangered species, including some bees which are essential to our food supply, survive and thrive,” said Victoria Yundt, staff attorney at Center for Food Safety and co-counsel in the case. 

“The California Endangered Species Act was enacted to protect the state’s biodiversity and should not exclude insects, which make up more than three quarters of all life on earth and play essential roles in maintaining native ecosystems and pollinating our crops,” said Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program director and petition coauthor at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “These four bumble bees are among many of California’s imperiled wild pollinators that urgently need the protection provided by this law.”

In 2018, Center for Food Safety, Defenders of Wildlife, and Xerces Society petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list four species of native bumble bees—western bumble bee, Franklin's bumble bee, Crotch's bumble bee, and the Suckley cuckoo bumble bee—as Endangered under CESA. As a result of the groups' petition, the Commission voted to begin the listing process in 2019, but was sued by California agricultural groups shortly after its decision. Center for Food Safety, Defenders of Wildlife, and Xerces Society intervened in the lawsuit (Almond Alliance v. California Fish and Game Commission) in January 2020.

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Additional Contacts:

Victoria “Tori” Yundt, 541-419-2344, tyundt@centerforfoodsafety.org
Sarina Jepsen, 971-244-3727, sarina.jepsen@xerces.org 

 

Center for Food Safety's mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 950,000 advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press 

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation protects the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is a trusted source for science-based information and advice and plays a leading role in protecting pollinators and many other invertebrates. Our team draws together experts from the fields of habitat restoration, entomology, plant ecology, education, pesticides, farming and conservation biology with a single passion: Protecting the life that sustains us. To learn more, visit xerces.org or follow us @xercessociety on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Jake Bleich headshot
Jake Bleich
Communications Associate
jbleich@defenders.org
(202) 772-3208

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