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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Tag Archives: Section 7

9th Circuit Vacates Biological Opinion for the Ruby Pipeline Project

Posted in Litigation

On October 22, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) abused its discretion when it issued a biological opinion (BiOp) and incidental take statement for the Ruby Pipeline Project, and ordered the Service to prepare a revised BiOp.  Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Bureau of Land… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that Bureau of Reclamation is Not Required to Consult Annually on Its Operation of Glen Canyon Dam

Posted in Court Decisions

On August 13, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit laid to rest litigation that threatened to profoundly affect water and power supplies for 25 million people throughout the arid Southwest. In Grand Canyon Trust v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (pdf), the Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is not required to consult… Continue Reading

FEMA Settles Citizen Suit; Agrees to Consult on Floodplain Program’s Impacts on Listed Fish in the Delta

Posted in Consultation, Litigation, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On March 8, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California entered judgment in Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and Kern County Water Agency v. Federal Emergency Management Agency, et al., No 1:09-cv-02024 (E.D. Cal.) based on a settlement agreement in which FEMA agreed to request consultation with the National Marine Fisheries… Continue Reading

FEMA’s Administration of the National Flood Insurance Program Not Exempt from Section 7 Consultation

Posted in Litigation

On August 19, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied in part and granted in part FEMA’s motion for partial summary judgment (PDF) in the latest in a series of lawsuits filed against FEMA for failing to consult under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regarding the impacts of… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds that Forest Service “Approval” of a Notice of Intent to Conduct Suction Dredge Gold Mining Does Not Trigger a Duty to Consult

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation

On April 7, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a United States Forest Service (USFS) District Ranger’s decision that proposed recreational suction dredge mining in the Klamath National Forest may proceed according to the miners’ Notices of Intent (NOIs) without a Plan of Operations is not an "agency action," and therefore… Continue Reading

Center for Biological Diversity to Challenge New Army Corps Levee Vegetation Clearing Policy

Posted in Litigation

After Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made major changes to its nationwide levee policies, including new standards in 2009 banning vegetation on or within 15 feet of levees. Earlier this year, the agency adopted a variance policy requiring trees and bushes to be removed by September 30 unless a new variance was granted,… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Issues Key Findings and Conclusions in Bay-Delta Salmon Case

Posted in Court Decisions

On May 18, 2010, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued findings of fact and conclusions of law (PDF) regarding Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction in The Consolidated Salmonid Cases, No. 09-1053 (E.D. Cal. May 18, 2010).  The matter consists of seven consolidated actions that all challenge the June… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Rejects Claim that Failure to Analyze Potential Future Phases of an Action as Interrelated Actions, Cumulative Effects, or Indirect Effects Violates the Endangered Species Act

Posted in Court Decisions

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) challenges to the approval of a rail line serving a limestone quarry in Texas. The court upheld the determination by the Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) to limit the effects analysis in the biological opinion to… Continue Reading

Court Rejects Use of Habitat Surrogate In Everglades Project Biological Opinion

Posted in Court Decisions, Litigation

In the latest round of litigation over endangered species impacts of water management in Southern Florida, a district court invalidated an incidental take statement applicable to actions of the Corps of Engineers to restore the Everglades.  The decision in Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. United States (PDF), is the latest in a line… Continue Reading

Conservation Groups Urge Administration to Adopt New Definition of “Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat”

Posted in Consultation, Regulatory Reform

On March 10, 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a letter (PDF) on behalf of 50 conservation groups encouraging the Secretaries of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce to adopt a radical new definition of “adverse modification of critical habitat.”  The proposed definition differs in two ways from the current regulatory definition;… Continue Reading

The National Research Council Commences Hearings on the Delta

Posted in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Pursuant to a request by Congress and the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Research Council recently held a number of hearings in Davis, California on the current crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These hearings took place over a four-day stretch, running from January 24 to January 28, frequently addressing a handful of different… Continue Reading