Legal Dispute About Bees Has California Conservation Agencies Buzzing

Pretty much everyone knows how important bees are to our world. And we also know that certain species of bees are threatened right now.

Against that backdrop environmentalists are backing state wildlife officials in a legal dispute over critically threatened bumblebees. In June 2018, the California Fish and Game Commission listed four species — crotch, Franklin’s, suckley cuckoo and western bumblebee — as candidate species for protections under the state Endangered Species Act.

A few months later, the California Farm Bureau Federation and six other agricultural associations sued the state over that decision. They argue that the the law cannot protect the bees because it defines candidate species as “bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile or plant” and does not directly mention “insects.”

If California listed the bees as endangered species it would set a harmful precedent for farmers and ranchers, they say.

“The four bees are critically endangered and by the legal standards within the California Endangered Species Act should be listed,” said Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife’s California program director. “We believe that insects should be protected under the state endangered species act.”

The agency report found that the bee populations are in “steep decline,” in part because of pesticides and farmer-managed honeybee colonies. Bumblebees depend on abundant flowers and undisturbed habitat to nest and spend the winter, but officials say ranching and climate change threaten their habitat.

Franklin’s bumblebee, for example, is so threatened that California bee surveys have not detected the species since 1998. While state officials don’t yet believe the bee is extinct, the survey results suggest its distribution — already the smallest of any North American bumblebee species — is exhausted, the state’s listing report says.

So the courts will now weigh in on the side of either the environmentalists or the farmers, proving that human beings can and will disagree about just about anything. Like bees in a flower garden, legal disputes are EVERYWHERE. And when those nasty things including contract issues, landlord/tenant matters, nuisance ADA claims and even collections threaten YOU and YOUR business, call on the good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling who will resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

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