Flies cost California city millions

Jan. 22, 2007 at 12:59 PM

COLTON, Calif., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Colton, Calif., officials say millions of dollars in potential economic development have been lost due to an endangered species of fly.

Officials estimate the city's lost development at $175 million since 1993, when the flies were declared endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a swath of dunes in the city's west side was declared a protected habitat, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

"Calling it a thorn on the city's side is being polite," Councilman John Mitchell told the Times. "The sands fly has literally cost the city hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. It's been real rough."

City and federal officials say there may be hope for an agreement that would protect the flies while allowing the land to be developed. The plan would designate a piece of land south of Interstate 10 as a conservation habitat, allowing development at the dunes.

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