Monthly Archives: March 2013

House Republicans Introduce ESA Settlement Reform Bill

On March 21, 2013, Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX), John Carter (R-TX), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Steve Pearce (R-NM) introduced a bill (pdf) to curtail allegedly excessive Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuits brought by environmental groups. The bill would prohibit courts from approving ESA settlements, unless states and counties that would be … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Stays Injunction in Whooping Crane Case

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stayed (pdf) an injunction issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas requiring the State to prepare a habitat conservation plan for the purpose of obtaining an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  We … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Holds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Decision to Delay Revisions to Critical Habitat Is Not Judicially Reviewable

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) prevailed on March 19th in a suit brought by the Sierra Club challenging a decision by the Service to delay revision of the critical habitat designation for the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).  The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Service’s decision was not judicially reviewable under … Continue Reading

California Releases Yet Another Preliminary Draft BDCP

On March 14, 2013, the State of California announced (pdf) that it has released the first 4 of 12 chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  California plans to release the next three chapters on March 27, and the remaining five chapters on April 22.  The BDCP website notes that the materials being released are preliminary and subject to … Continue Reading

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Held Liable for Whooping Crane Deaths in Violation of ESA

After an unusual eight day bench trial, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas held (pdf) State officials in Texas violated the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana).  In holding for plaintiff The Aransas Project, the court found that defendants’ actions, inactions, … Continue Reading

Comment Period Extended for Proposed Listing of Gunnison Sage Grouse

On March 13, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) extended (pdf) the public comment period for two proposed rules relating to the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus).  As we previously reported, the Service published a proposed rule to list the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in January.  In conjunction with that proposed … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Denies Motion to Limit ESA Claims to Administrative Record

In Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service, No. CIV. 2:12-02416 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied (pdf) a motion brought by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to limit review of claims brought under the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the … Continue Reading

Clear Lake Hitch Becomes Candidate for Protection Under California Endangered Species Act

The California Fish & Game Commission (Commission) voted this week to designate the Clear Lake hitch (Lavinia exilicauda)—a fish found only in Clear Lake and its tributaries—as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). This week’s vote triggered a one-year formal review period during which the status of the fish will be assessed. The … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Orders Endangered Species Act Case to be Reheard En Banc

On March 5, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered Natural Resources Defense Council v. Salazar, 1:05-cv-01207, to be reheard en banc pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 35(a) and Circuit Rule 35-3. Environmental groups brought the action against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), asserting Reclamation violated section 7 of … Continue Reading