Monthly Archives: March 2016

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for 125 Hawaiian Species

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) issued a final rule designating critical habitat for 125 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) on the Hawaiian islands of Molokai, Maui, and Kahoolawe.  The rule designated critical habitat for 50 plant and animal species, and revised critical … Continue Reading

Widely Divergent Views of Section 7 Consultation Described in PNAS Articles

In December 2015, Defenders of Wildlife employees published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they compiled and conducted basic statistical analyses of data regarding section 7 consultations from 2008 to 2015.  Among their findings were the following: there were 81,461 informal and 6,829 formal consultations during that period; … Continue Reading

Is Their Fate Sealed? Alaska District Court Vacates Regulation Listing Arctic Ringed Seal Populations as Threatened and Endangered

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) listing the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida, Phoca hispida ochotensis, and Phoca hispida … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

On March 8, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy that has guided Service recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of development on fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats since 1981.  The revised policy provides a framework for achieving a net gain in conservation outcomes, or … Continue Reading

Listing Litigation: Courts Rule on Two Permian Basin Species

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) request to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus).  Permian Basin Petrol. Ass ‘n v. Dep ‘t of the Interior, No. 7:14-CV-50 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 29, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) designation of critical habitat in Alaska for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).  Alaska Oil and Gas Ass’n v. Jewell, No. 13-35919 (9th Cir. Feb. 29, 2016).  The Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision, reinstating … Continue Reading
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