I have pasted below copies of pages 1, 2, 3, and 35 from the May 31, 2022, California Court of Appeal decision in Almond Alliance of California, Plaintiff and Respondents v. California Fish and Game Commission, Defendant and Appellant, with Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation as an Intervener and Appellant. I have also provided below a pdf of the complete 35-page decision.
The short version is that the Court of Appeal found that the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, or more specifically, four species of the bumble bee, including the Crotch bumble bee, the Franklin bumble bee, the Suckley cuckoo bumble bee and the Western bumble bee, are or can be protected as endangered or threatened species under the definition of fish under sections 2061 and 2067 (and also possibly under section 2068) of the California Endangered Species Act (California Fish and Game Code section 2050, et seq.).
Please note that this decision might be appealed, or not. But it is now the current law in California. The Court also stated that it was affirming and expanding on its decision in California Forestry Association v. California Fish and Game Commission (2007) 156 Cal. App. 4th 1535, 1552.
Perhaps more important from a long-term or broad perspective, the Court also stated at page 35 of 35 of its decision: “For the foregoing reasons, we agree with the [California] Department [of Fish and Game] and the [California Fish and Game] Commission that the Commission may list any invertebrate as an endangered or threatened species under [sections] 2062 and 2067, if the invertebrate meets the requirement of those statutes, and thus may also designate any invertebrate as a candidate species under section 2068, if the species or subspecies may otherwise qualify as an endangered or threatened species.” Thus, the decision in Almond Alliance of California most likely is and will become even more significant and expansive for additional species.
This topic and other similar topics also can go into any number of different directions including, for example, the effects upon the bees of broad-based temperature or climate change and drought or lack of water resources, the difficulty or perhaps impossibility of identifying causation for species disappearance, ESG (if ESG becomes a more important legal or duty-related item), aspects of entity sustainability and governance, each species tends to populate a particular geographic area but obviously there are no walls or fences within which a species must stay, entity reputation, branding and communications, and perhaps audit and auditing, in addition to other areas and issues.
I make one additional note or view: California has over 200 agencies, departments and commissions, including, for example agencies, departments and commissions for business and economic development, jobs, housing, and labor and employment. When one California agency, department or commission takes a position on a matter, there appears to be either no or very little evaluation of the positive or negative impacts of that position on the missions and purposes of other California agencies, departments and commissions – or, if the potential impacts are taken into consideration, those discussions and deliberations cannot be found or are very difficult to find. I would encourage a risk management approach that uses an evaluation-of-the-whole approach, including to minimize the possibility of unplanned or unanticipated significant impacts.
Below are pages 1, 2, 3 and 35 from the decision in Almond Alliance of California v. Fish and Game Commission, and also a full pdf copy of the decision. I expect that this decision will have very significant, and broad ramifications.
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Best to you,
David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)
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David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing only as an attorney in California.