Monthly Archives: May 2014

Amici Curiae Support En Banc Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On May 12, 2014, Appellees Kern County Water Agency, Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, State Water Contractors, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California filed a petition for rehearing en banc, seeking further review of the recent Ninth Circuit decision relating to the 2008 biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ordered to Complete Recovery Plan for Canada Lynx

Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Montana ordered (pdf) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to develop a timeline for completion of recovery planning for the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). The court determined that the Service’s purported justifications for not developing and implementing a recovery plan for the species were insufficient … Continue Reading

Two Plant Species May Find Protection Under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has issued a final rule (pdf) listing the Kentucky Glade Cress (Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata) as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Kentucky Glade Cress, a small, lilac-colored wildflower, is located in parts of Jefferson and Bullitt counties in Kentucky.  The primary threat to the species … Continue Reading

Proposed Critical Habitat Rules Expand Reach of Critical Habitat Protections Under the Endangered Species Act

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed two important new rules (50 CFR Part 402 and 50 CFR Part 424) implementing the critical habitat provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed rules expand the regulatory definition of “critical habitat” and “adverse modification” – … Continue Reading

House Approves Bill Requiring the Executive Branch to Report Fees Awarded To Prevailing Parties

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (H.R. 2919), which would amend existing law to require the Executive Branch to provide an annual report to Congress on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded to prevailing parties, other than the United States, in certain administrative proceedings and civil suits, including … Continue Reading

California District Court Finds Biological Assessments Inconsistent and Enjoins Caltrans’ Project

In Souza v. California Department of Transportation, No. 13-cv-04407 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 2014), plaintiffs sought to enjoin a project proposed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to modify U.S. Route 199 and State Route 197 in Del Norte County, California, near the Smith River. Plaintiffs challenged the adequacy of Caltrans’ consultation with the … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Declines to Reclassify California Plant

On May 2, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 12-month finding concluding that, based on the best available scientific and commercial information, the endangered Lane Mountain milk-vetch (Astragalus jaegerianus), a plant found in a small portion of the central Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, should not be reclassified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service found … Continue Reading

House Natural Resources Committee Sends Four ESA Reform Bills to the House Floor

After a heated markup hearing on Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to send four bills that would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. All four bills were sponsored by Republican representatives, and the Committee voted almost exclusively upon partisan lines, with Republicans voting for … Continue Reading
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