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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Liz Klebaner

Liz Klebaner Liz Klebaner advises clients on environmental compliance and natural resources, administrative law, energy and public utilities matters, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Federal Land Policy Management Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act. Ms. Klebaner also litigates in state and federal court. She has litigated matters brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Land Policy Management Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Posts by Liz Klebaner

Ninth Circuit Rules Injury from Future Water Rights Restrictions Too Speculative for Article III Standing

Posted in Court Decisions, Uncategorized

On February 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District (collectively, “Water Contractors”) lacked Article III standing to pursue an Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) claim against the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (collectively, the “Federal… Continue Reading

USFWS Initiates Status Review for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently published a positive 90-day finding on a petition to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and three distinct population segments as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  The petition was filed by WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife on September 8, 2016. … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Denies U.S. Forest Service’s Petition for Review in Canadian Lynx Case

Posted in Court Decisions, Uncategorized

On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the U.S. Forest Service’s (“Forest Service”) petition for writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. Forest Service, 789 F.3d 1075 (9th Cir. 2015).  The key issues in the case related to standing, the justiciability of… Continue Reading

Northern Spotted Owl Listed As a Threatened Species Under the California Endangered Species Act

Posted in Listing

On August 25, 2016, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted unanimously to list the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act.  The owl is already listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.  The Commission’s action increased protections for the species… Continue Reading

USFWS Publishes Final Methodology for Prioritizing Listing Petition Status Reviews

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

On July 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) published a Federal Register notice of its final Methodology for Prioritizing Status Reviews and Accompanying 12-Month Findings on Petitions for Listing Species under the Endangered Species Act (“Methodology”).  The final Methodology clarifies several of the terms and processes identified in the draft Methodology. The… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Holds Injury Exists Where Statutory Enactment Denies Plaintiff’s Right to Information; Upholds Section 9 Exemption for Antelope Species

Posted in Court Decisions

On June 3, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in Friends of Animals v. Jewell (No. 1:14-cv-00357) that Plaintiff Friends of Animals (“Plaintiff”) had Article III standing to pursue a constitutional claim on the ground of informational injury.  The court, however, rejected the merits of Plaintiff’s challenge to a U.S…. Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Authorizes Take of the Last Known Wild Jaguar in the United States

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

On April 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a revised Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Permit for the Rosemont Copper Mine in Pima County, Arizona. USFWS originally issued a Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Permit for the mine project in 2013. Consultation with USFWS was reinitiated in 2015 primarily due to… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Court Decisions, Listing, Litigation, National Marine Fisheries Service

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

Court Holds Inadequate Veterinary Care, Sanitation, and Lack of Environmental Enrichment Constitute a Taking Under the Endangered Species Act.

Posted in Court Decisions

On February 11, 2016, in Kuehl v. Cricket Hollow Zoo, Case No. C14-2034, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa ruled that the owners and operators of the Cricket Hollow Zoo, located in rural Manchester, violated the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) take prohibition by failing to provide adequate sanitation and timely… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Delist Texas Shrub

Posted in Delisting, Uncategorized

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced that it will remove the Johnston’s frankenia (Frankenia johnstonii) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants under the Endangered Species Act.  Johnson frankenia is a perennial shrub endemic to Starr, Webb and Zapata Counties in Texas and the northeastern part of the Mexican states… Continue Reading

CESAR Files Delta Smelt ESA Suit Against DWR, Interior and USFWS

Posted in Uncategorized

On November 19, 2015, the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR) filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) (collectively, Federal Defendants) for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in connection with the installation, operation and removal… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines that Listing of Sierra Nevada Red Fox is Warranted at the Distinct Population Segment Level; Separately Service Removes 19 Species From Candidate List

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

In a notice published on October 8, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its proposed 12-month finding on the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) petition to list the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Service determined that listing of the… Continue Reading

Feinstein Introduces the California Emergency Drought Relief Act

Posted in Congress, Legislation

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill last week to help address ongoing and future drought in California. The bill, known as the California Emergency Drought Relief Act (Act), is expected to be folded into broader legislation addressing the historic drought in the Western United States. The bill’s goals are to move existing water supplies… Continue Reading

Sage Grouse Status Hangs in the Balance as BLM Moves to Adopt Conservation Plans for Ten Western States

Posted in Conservation

On May 29, 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM),  in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, released Final Environmental Impact Statements for proposed amendments to existing Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for lands in ten western states.  The RMP amendments would establish conservation measures for the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) for approximately 50… Continue Reading

Third Gray Wolf Delisting Bill Introduced in House

Posted in Congress, Conservation, Delisting, Legislation

Last week, Washington State Representative Dan Newhouse introduced the “Pacific Northwest Gray Wolf Management Act” (H.R. 1985), which would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) within Washington, Oregon, and Utah.  H.R. 1985 is the third bill  introduced in the 114th Congress (2015-2016) proposing to delist the gray wolf within specified states.  H.R. 843 and H.R. 884,… Continue Reading

“21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act” Introduced in House

Posted in Congress, Legislation, Regulatory Reform

On March 26, 2015, House of Representatives Republican Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill (H.R. 1667) to amend Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require the Secretary of Interior to “make publicly available on the Internet the best scientific and commercial data available that are the basis for reach regulation, including each… Continue Reading

Oregon Chub is First Fish Species Ever To Be Declared Recovered and Removed From Threatened Species Listing

Posted in Delisting

On February 17, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final decision to remove the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision to delist the chub also removes designated critical habitat for the chub throughout its range. The… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists One Midwestern Butterfly as Threatened, Another as Endangered

Posted in Listing

On October 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae) as a threatened species and the Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.  The Dakota skipper is found in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Manitoba and Sasketchewan, and that… Continue Reading

Georgia Plant Listed and 732 Acres Designated

Posted in Listing

On September 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice of its final rule listing the Georgia rockcress (Arabis georgiana) as a threatened plant species under the Endangered Species Act.  On the same day, the Service published notice of its final rule designating 732 acres within Georgia and Alabama as critical habitat for the… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is Accepting Comments on Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Bull Trout.

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) posted a Notice of Availability of the Revised Draft Recovery Plan for the Coterminous United States Population of Bull Trout (pdf). The plan is intended to manage threats and ensure sufficient distribution and abundance of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) so that protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)… Continue Reading

Recent Ninth Circuit ESA Decision May Be Headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted in Court Decisions

On July 14, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) filed a petition for writ of certiorari (pdf) with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 749 F.3d 776 (9th Cir. 2014). In an en banc decision, the Ninth Circuit found that a U.S. Bureau of… Continue Reading