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The Region : Charges Dismissed in Butterfly Case

May 27, 1987

Chief U.S. District Judge Manuel Real dismissed criminal charges against Rancho Palos Verdes for its alleged destruction of the habitat of a rare species of butterfly. Saying it was clear that Congress never intended cities to be held responsible for violations of the federal Endangered Species Act, Real dismissed a one-count criminal information filed in April, in which the U.S. attorney's office charged that the city had eradicated the butterfly by developing a baseball field on the larvae's habitat. Rancho Palos Verdes was the first public agency ever charged under the 14-year-old law that makes it a crime to destroy critical habitat of endangered species, and had faced a fine of up to $20,000 if convicted.

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