Eight congressional representatives from San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties have co-signed a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to withdraw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Final Rule  for the Santa Ana Sucker .
“We are concerned that the USFWS cannot scientifically justify how the expanded habitat designation will add any protection for the species,” said the Aug. 26 letter, which was co-signed by Reps. Joe Baca, David Dreier, Ken Calvert, John Campbell, Jerry Lewis, Mary Bono-Mack, Gary Miller and Dana Rohrbacher.
“The agency has not produced any research on the Santa Ana Sucker , nor has it produced a recovery plan for the species.”
The congressional representatives also warned that the Service’s Final Rule poses a serious threat to local water supplies.
“Specifically at risk is the ability of some agencies to capture almost 200,000 acre feet annually of the runoff from the Santa Ana River and the San Gabriel River,” the congressional representatives wrote. “Moreover, local leaders believe that their flood control and transportation projects, as well as many other local initiatives, are not being taken into consideration.”
The congressional representatives also reminded Secretary Salazar that Congress directed the Service “to consider the potential economic and environmental effects of designating critical habitat and gave the USFWS the discretion to exclude lands from the designation if the economic and other effects of such designation would outweigh the benefits.
“Highly competent local analyses calculate the economic effect of the designation at a more than $4 billion loss to the region. This enormous number is the product of lost development, lost jobs and lost water resources – all in a region that is among the hardest hit by the recession. The designation of critical habitat for the Santa Ana Sucker is not an action that will help our area recover.”
To receive a copy of the letter, please contact San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District at (909) 387-9220 or visit the agency’s website at www.sbvmwd.com .