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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

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

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Challenges U.S Fish and Wildlife’s Release of Mexican Wolves

Pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) appeal from a district court decision enjoining the Service from releasing Mexican wolves into New Mexico without the requisite state permits. In June 2016, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (“Department”) challenged the Service’s … Continue Reading

New Administration Means Big Changes for Endangered Species

The election of Donald Trump as President, together with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, is likely to lead to important policy changes across a range of issues. While administration of the Endangered Species Act and other federal wildlife laws has not been high profile during the election season, it is an issue area … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Incidental Take Statements Not Required for Plant Species

On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision granting summary judgment to the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) on the issue of whether an incidental take statement is required for plant species.  In Center for Biological Diversity v. … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of “Uninhabitable” Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act.  Markle Interests, L.L.C. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 14-31008 (5th Cir. June … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rules Mitigation Measures Constitute Take of Fully Protected Species

On November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Case No. S217763 (Nov. 30, 2015).  The decision comes at the conclusion of a nearly five-year legal battle over the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (“CDFW”) approval of an environmental … Continue Reading

Challenge to Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier Thrown Out Due to Lack of Proper Notice

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California granted the state and federal defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability (CESAR) v. Cowin, No. 1:15-cv-00884 (pdf). Plaintiff CESAR claimed that the construction and operation of an emergency drought salinity barrier … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Critical Habitat Designations Not Subject to Cost-Benefit Analysis

In Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. U.S. Department of Commerce, a decision with significant implications for property owners, the building industry, and the development community at large, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected various challenges to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) critical habitat designation for the southern … Continue Reading
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