Endangered Fly

September 10, 1999

If you think that the Endangered Species Act has little impact on economic development and community services, then talk to someone in San Bernardino. The Clinton administration has stalled construction of projects worth million of dollars (including a school and a hospital) in order to save (are you ready for this?) a fly.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding up the projects until the county of San Bernardino comes up with $220 million for land acquisitions to protect the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly. By the way, its the only fly on the Endangered Species List.

When eight flies were discovered near the construction of a hospital wing, the Fish and Wildlife Service forced the hospital to move construction 350 feet north and set aside two acres of dune land for the flies. Now it turns out we really don't know much about those eight flies, but we do know a lot about the cost.

Environmental planning consultant Stephen Lilburn says, "We spent about $4 million to mitigate the possible presence of eight flies near an existing hospital. People heard this and could not believe it was costing us an additional half-million per fly" to build the wing.

Rob Gordon, president of the National Wilderness Institute, says "No one actually knew how many flies were there, or if they counted the same fly eight times, or four flies two times, or so on."

Well this little fly is holding up sewer and flood-control projects as well as the construction of a hospital and the construction of a middle school. If you thought that concerns about the abuse of the Endangered Species Act were overblown, just remember the story of the fly in San Bernardino.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.