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Ninth Circuit Defers to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Distinct Population Segment Determination

On August 28, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision upholding a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) determination that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle does not constitute a distinct population segment (“DPS”) under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke, No. … Continue Reading

Nevada Solar Project Survives Ninth Circuit Review Despite Impacts to Tortoise Connectivity

On May 18, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment decision in favor of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and other federal officials in an action brought by an environmental organization concerning the possible impacts of a Nevada solar power facility on … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds Forest Service’s Construction of New Roads in Grizzly Bear Habitat

On May 17, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and upheld the U.S. Forest Service’s (Forest Service) decision to construct 4.7 miles of new roads in the Kootenai National Forest. The Kootenai National Forest is managed pursuant to the … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Finds EPA Erred in Approving Pesticides Known To Impact Endangered Species

On May 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted, in part, a motion for summary judgment brought by plaintiffs in a suit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) approval of the registration and use of 73 pesticides containing the active ingredients clothianidin and thiamethoxam.  See Ellis v. Housenger, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Determination on the Whitebark Pine

On April 28, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Montana’s finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) determination that listing the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) as a threatened or endangered species is “warranted but precluded.”  Wildwest Inst. v. … Continue Reading

Court Sends EPA Back to the Drawing Board on Temperature Limits in Oregon Waters

On April 11, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon ruled on parties’ objections to a federal magistrate judge’s findings and recommendations in a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of temperature increases for over a dozen water bodies in Oregon under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Removes Hurdle to Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Designation Challenge

On April 11, 2017, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) held in Carpenters Industrial Council v. Zinke, 2017 U.S.App.LEXIS 6175, that a lumber company trade association had standing to challenge a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) regulation designating critical habitat for the northern … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Reinstates Special Rule Regulating Take of Utah Prairie Dog

On March 29, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held (PDF) that Congress has authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate the take of the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens).  Because Congress has this authority, it could authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to do the same. The Utah … Continue Reading
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