Monthly Archives: June 2010

Environmental Groups Bring ESA Suit Against First U.S. Offshore Wind Project

After nine years of environmental review and the arduous federal, state, and local permitting process, Cape Wind Associates, LLC (CWA) recently obtained the right to a commercial lease from the Minerals Management Service (recently renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement) to construct and operate an offshore wind facility located in federal waters 4.7 miles offshore Cape … Continue Reading

Fish & Wildlife Service Seeking Approximately $3 Million for Unprecedented Kill of Endangered Species

On June 24, 2010, the Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Violation to the City of Birmingham, Alabama for allegedly killing an estimated 11,700 endangered watercress darters, and injuring approximately 8,900 others, in a single incident in 2008.  The Service is seeking $2,975,000 in civil penalties as a result of the incident. The watercress … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeals Holds State Agencies are Subject of California Endangered Species Act

The California Court of Appeal’s First Appellate District issued a decision affirming the lower court in a case of first impression regarding the interpretation of the term “person” in the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The issue presented to the court was whether the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is a person for the purpose … Continue Reading

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Its Implications

Home to endangered species, marine mammals, and nationally significant commercial and recreational fishing resources, the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is under assault. When the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded on April 20, sinking two days later, it began spewing oil into the Gulf’s ecosystem. Recalling that the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill released just over … Continue Reading

National Research Council Defends Decision to Force Resignation of Respected Scientist from Bay-Delta Committee

In a letter (PDF) dated May 25, 2010 and sent to Secretaries Salazar and Locke of the Departments of the Interior and Commerce, respectively, Stephen Parker of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board explained the National Research Council’s decision to force the resignation of Dr. Pat Glibert of the University of Maryland. The forced … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Determines that Critical Habitat Can be Destroyed Without Meeting Definition of “Adverse Modification”

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service’) no “adverse modification” determination despite the fact that the proposed project would destroy some critical habitat. In Butte Environmental Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (PDF), environmental plaintiffs challenged the Service’s biological opinion finding that a proposed business park … Continue Reading

Court Defers to Fish and Wildlife Service’s Determination Regarding Critical Habitat of Endangered San Diego Fairy Shrimp

On May 27, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision rejecting a challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s critical habitat determination for the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp, concluding that the Service’s determination was entitled to deference.  Under the terms of the Endangered Species Act, the Service is required to … Continue Reading