CalCIMA, coalition file suit on Joshua tree listing process

By |  October 26, 2020
Photo: Robert Dugan


The California Construction & Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA), as part of a coalition, filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the process used by the California Fish & Game Commission to consider the western Joshua tree as a potentially threatened species.

The coalition lawsuit includes CalCIMA, the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, the California Business Properties Association, the High Desert Association of Realtors, and the city of Hesperia.

“We have joined this lawsuit since the member companies of CalCIMA seek to operate in a manner of responsible stewardship on working lands, based on strict requirements of science and law, and in pursuance of societal goals and needs,” says Robert Dugan, president and CEO of CalCIMA. “For the state to not follow its own legal and science requirements flaunts the social contract.”

According to Dugan, the California State Legislature adopted thoughtful and clear rules that the California Fish & Game Commission must follow when determining whether a species should be protected under the California Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit seeks to require the commission to follow these rules, Dugan says.

“We are living in a time when people are being challenged to accept or deny science,” Dugan says. “We believe in science based on data. Not opinion. Not politics. The integrity of the California Endangered Species Act depends on the appropriate use of scientific data and facts.

The California Fish & Game Commission’s acceptance of the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to list the Joshua tree as a threatened species ignored multiple legal requirements for scientific data, as required under the California Endangered Species Act, Dugan adds.

“The credibility of the [California Endangered Species] Act is at risk when applications are accepted that do not meet the minimum threshold for consideration,” he says.

According to CalCIMA, the lawsuit does not challenge the merits of whether the western Joshua tree should ultimately be protected under the California Endangered Species Act. Instead, the lawsuit asserts that the petition for consideration did not meet basic, foundational requirements of the California Endangered Species Act to enable the California Fish & Game Commission to determine whether such protection might be appropriate.

“By comparison, whenever any business needs a substantial permit, they must adhere to every requirement under applicable laws,” Dugan says. “There are no shortcuts.”

CalCIMA is a trade association for aggregate, concrete and industrial mineral producers in California. Members provide the materials to build and repair homes, schools, roads, airports, bridges, rail, water and other infrastructure, as well as provide consumer products, such as electronics and batteries, and assist in growing crops and livestock.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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