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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Supreme Court Declines to Review Endangered Species Act Economic Impact Cases

Posted in Court Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied (pdf) two petitions that sought to have the Court resolve a Circuit split regarding the evaluation of economic impacts of critical habitat designations under the federal Endangered Species Act.  The Court’s action leaves in place two recent decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding… Continue Reading

House Passes Bill to Cutoff Funding for Water Supply Restrictions Imposed by Federal Wildlife Agencies

Posted in Regulatory Reform

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 (pdf), a spending bill, on February 19, 2011, that includes a rider to foreclose use of funds appropriated by Congress to implement Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs) developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to accompany biological opinions and jeopardy determinations made… Continue Reading

DFG Opens Comment Period on Adding Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog to California’s Endangered Species List

Posted in Listing

The Department of Fish and Game (“DFG”) is now accepting comments on a proposal to add northern and southern variants of the mountain yellow-legged frog to the endangered species list under the California Endangered Species Act (“CESA”). The proposal comes as a result of a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity submitted in 2010…. Continue Reading

FEMA Settles Another Lawsuit Challenging Implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program

Posted in Litigation

On February 11, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico approved a stipulated settlement agreement (pdf) between the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") and WildEarth Guardians, obligating FEMA to, among other things, request that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("Service") initiate formal consultation on the impacts of the National Flood Insurance Program (the "NFIP") in… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Rule to Reclassify Wood Bison From Endangered to Threatened

Posted in Listing

The Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently announced  (pdf) a proposed rule to reclassify the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). After completing a 12-month status review, the Service found that threats still affect the wood bison, with the largest threat being the loss of habitat caused… Continue Reading

Pacific Walrus Designated as a “Candidate” for Endangered Species Protection

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

The Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced (PDF) that despite a finding (PDF) that sufficient scientific and commercial data exist to warrant protecting the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), an official rulemaking to propose that protection will be postponed because of the need to address “other higher priority species.”  Instead, the Service will… Continue Reading

EPA to Study Impacts of Contaminants on the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary

Posted in Regulatory Reform, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On February 10, 2011, EPA Region 9 issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Water Quality Challenges in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary ("Advanced Notice") (pdf).  EPA is not proposing any specific Clean Water Act ("CWA") rulemaking at this time.  Instead, EPA proposes to assess "the effectiveness of current programs designed to protect water quality and aquatic… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues New Rule Designating Critical Habitat for the Arroyo Toad

Posted in Critical Habitat

On February 7, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a press release announcing a new final rule designating critical habitat for the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus).  The rule (pdf) designates about 98,366 acres of land as critical habitat ranging from portions of Santa Barbara County in the north to San Diego County in the south.  By comparison, the prior… Continue Reading

18 Members of Congress Claim Pesticide BiOps Rely on Faulty Analysis and Ignore Best Available Information

Posted in Consultation, Regulatory Reform, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

In a letter to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), 18 members of Congress urged the Obama Administration to "ensure that NMFS, EPA, the Department of the Interior, USDA, and DOJ work together" to strengthen the modeling and to use the best scientific and commercially available information to re-evaluate existing biological opinions (BiOps) and to inform… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Agrees to Reconsider Status of Longfin Smelt

Posted in Litigation

On February 2, 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California approved a settlement agreement (pdf) between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ("Service"), the Center for Biological Diversity, and The Bay Institute, obligating the Service to reconsider the status of the longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys), including the San Francisco Bay-Delta population.  Under the terms of the settlement,… Continue Reading