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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Tag Archives: Section 4

Texas Cactus and Three Other Species Proposed for Downlisting or Delisting by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Litigation

On December 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to reclassify the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), downlisting the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service concluded that, while the Cactus is not in danger of extinction, it is likely to… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Holds Informational Standing Nonexistent Prior to 12-Month Finding

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of an environmental organization’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) claim, concluding that the organization lacked standing because the informational injury alleged in the complaint could not, as a matter of law, arise until after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife… Continue Reading

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Litigation

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Withdrawal).  The Withdrawal signaled a complete departure from the Service’s February 2013 proposed rule to list… Continue Reading

Listing Litigation: Courts Rule on Two Permian Basin Species

Posted in Court Decisions, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Litigation

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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Publishes Its Annual Candidate Notice of Review

Posted in Listing

On December 24, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) summarizing the status of species that qualify as candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The 2015 CNOR identifies all species designated as candidates and explains the changes to the candidate list from the… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Updated Guidance to Streamline 90-Day and 12-Month Petition Findings

Posted in Delisting, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

On October 27, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) issued a memorandum to the Service Regional Directors announcing new guidance to streamline findings on petitions to list species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The stated purpose of the guidance is to “streamline petition findings while ensuring [the Service] conducts an adequate review… Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Listings and Designates Critical Habitat Pursuant to 2011 Listing Settlement Workplan

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

During the last week of its fiscal year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) made several findings under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to meet its obligations under the 2011 listing settlement workplan.  Below is a brief summary of these findings. On September 29, 2015, the Service published a proposed rule… Continue Reading

Court Vacates Polar Bear Special Rule, Upholds Ban on Importation of Sport-Hunted Trophies

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation

On October 17, 2011, U.S. District Judge Sullivan issued two opinions in the Polar Bear litigation previously blogged about here.  In the first opinion (pdf), Judge Sullivan held that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by issuing a rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regarding take… Continue Reading

Court Upholds the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Interpretation of “Endangered Species” and Decision to List the Polar Bear as Threatened

Posted in Court Decisions, Listing, Litigation

In a closely watched and hotly contested challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the Polar Bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the final listing rule at 73 Fed. Reg. 28,212 (May 15, 2008) (pdf), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a 116-page opinion… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Finds Delta Smelt Warrants Uplisting from Threatened to Endangered

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the delta smelt warrants uplisting (PDF) from "threatened" to endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.  However, uplisting at this time is precluded by the need to address higher priority species.  This "warranted but precluded" finding will not have any practical effect on existing protections for the delta smelt. … Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service Lists Pacific Smelt As Threatened

Posted in Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") has issued a final determination (PDF) listing the southern Distinct Population Segment of Pacific eulachon (commonly referred to as "pacific smelt") as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.  Because the pacific smelt has only been listed as a "threatened species," the listing does not result in an immediate prohibition on pacific smelt… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Designates 1.6 Million Acres of Critical Habitat for California Red-Legged Frog

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

For the third time in nine years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has revised the designation of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog. The new designation includes 1.6 million acres in 20 counties in California. 75 Fed. Reg. 12,816 (Mar. 17, 2010) (PDF). The revised designation increases the amount of critical habitat by over… Continue Reading

Groups Sue Over Greater Sage Grouse Candidate Determination

Posted in Listing, Litigation

Western Watersheds Project is again challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing determination for the greater sage grouse.  On March 5, 2010, the Service determined that listing the greater sage grouse was warranted but precluded by higher priority species, thereby deeming the greater sage grouse a candidate species, which does not receive any protection under… Continue Reading

Greater Sage Grouse Listing Warranted But Precluded

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

co-authored by Robert Thornton After seeking a week’s delay, the Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the greater sage grouse warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, but listing is currently precluded by higher priority species.  The Service is placing the greater sage grouse on the candidate list for future action.  Until then, the… Continue Reading

NRDC Sues to List Whitebark Pine Claiming Exacerbated Threat Due to Climate Change

Posted in Listing, Litigation

Another lawsuit (PDF) has been filed to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to act on a listing petition – this time for the whitebark pine tree, which is distributed across high-elevation areas in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and southwestern Canada.  The Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned (PDF) the Service to… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Reinstates Proposed Listing of the Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard

Posted in Listing

Reminiscent of the tale of endless litigation in Dickens’ Bleak House, the Fish and Wildlife Service has reinstated (PDF) the 1993 proposed rule (PDF) to list the flat-tailed horned lizard as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act following more than a decade of litigation, including two decisions from the United States Court of… Continue Reading

Lawsuit Seeking Listing of Sonoran Desert Tortoise Expands Endangered Species Act-Solar Development Conflict

Posted in Listing, Litigation

Environmental groups have sued (PDF) the Fish and Wildlife Service to force the listing of the Sonoran desert tortoise in Arizona as a distinct population segment under the Endangered Species Act.  The lawsuit is the latest legal development that threatens to slow or block the national effort to promote the development of solar energy on… Continue Reading

Successful Court Challenge Results in Second Denial for Coastal Cutthroat Trout

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

In a notice (PDF) published February 25, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew its proposal to list the Southwestern Washington/Columbia River Distinct Population Segment ("DPS") of coastal cutthroat trout for the second time. The Service was required to revisit the issue after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision (PDF) ordering the Service… Continue Reading

Highly Anticipated Sage Grouse Listing Decision Likely Delayed One Week

Posted in Fish & Wildlife Service, Listing

As discussed in Bloomberg Business Week, the oil and gas industry, ranchers and others are eagerly anticipating the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision whether to list the greater sage grouse.  In January 2005, the Service made a finding (PDF) that listing the greater sage grouse was not warranted.  The Western Watershed Project sued the Service… Continue Reading

Four Lawsuits Filed Over Delay on Petitions to List 93 Species

Posted in Listing, Litigation

The Center for Biological Diversity filed four lawsuits in federal district courts in Washington, D.C.,  Sacramento, California, Portland, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona over petitions for species listings filed over the past decade.  The lawsuits against the Obama administration are aimed at forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a finding on the listing petitions…. Continue Reading

National Marine Fisheries Service to Determine if 82 Species of Coral are Threatened or Endangered by Climate Change

Posted in Listing, National Marine Fisheries Service

On February 10, 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced its determination that a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petition (PDF 6 MB) to list 83 species of stony coral as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act “presents substantial information indicating that [listing] might be warranted for 82 of the 83 subject… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Determines American Pika Not Endangered by Climate Change

Posted in Listing

Listing of this tiny relative of the rabbit . . . could have been a very big deal . . . . If a species is listed as threatened or endangered specifically due to climate change, then any private industry or federal government action that may affect climate change . . . could be required to comply with the stringent regulatory requirements (and attendant litigation risks) of the Endangered Species Act.

No Critical Habitat Designation for Florida Panther

Posted in Critical Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Service

On February 11, 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service reported that it will not be designating critical habitat for the Florida panther. This announcement comes in response to petitions submitted to the Service by several environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity requesting designation of 3 million acres of land in… Continue Reading