California bill would protect native western Joshua tree
By SOPHIE AUSTIN
Associated Press/Report for America
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A bill backed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration would provide protections to the western Joshua tree, a native desert plant known for its distinct appearance. The bill’s proposal comes as the state’s Fish and Game Commission continues to weigh whether to list the tree as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. The newly-proposed legislation would simplify the permit process for getting permission to remove it. Proponents of listing the tree as threatened warn that climate change is threating the conditions in which it can thrive. But some argue listing it could hinder housing and solar projects where the tree is abundant.