As 2018 approaches, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) made a few announcements that will likely impact the list of threatened and endangered species. In these last 11 days of 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions to list or reclassify five species, and 12-month findings on petitions to list or de-list two species under the ESA.
- On December 20, 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions for five separate species. The Service found that the petitioned actions for each of the five species may be warranted, based on the information presented in ...
On December 22, 2017 the Department of the Interior (DOI) Solicitor's Office issued its revised interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s (MBTA) prohibition on the take of migratory bird species. Official opinions from the DOI Solicitor’s Office are known as M Opinions and carry substantial weight in how DOI applies and enforces the various wildlife laws under its purview. In January 2017, the prior DOI Solicitor issued Opinion M-37041, Incidental Take Prohibited Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which concluded that the MBTA’s broad prohibition on taking and ...
In the Fall 2017 publication of the Unified Agenda of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of the Interior announced its intent to revise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regulations governing interagency cooperation and exceptions to the conservation of endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife, and plants. In a separate announcement in the same publication, the Department of the Interior stated that it intends to revise regulations governing the listing of endangered and threatened species and the designation of critical ...
Long ago, the framers of the Constitution decided to separate the federal government's powers into three branches, with each branch acting as a check on the other. Broadly speaking, the legislative branch writes the law, the judicial branch decides what the law means, and the executive branch decides how to enforce the law. Sometimes, however, the powers can overlap among the branches.
For example, besides writing the laws, the legislative branch also approves the budgets for the various federal agencies. And if a particular agency budget does not include funds for ...
On November 8, 2017, the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources approved an amendment to oil and gas-related legislation, the SECURE Act (H.R. 4239), that is intended to obviate liability for the incidental or accidental take of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. § 703 et seq. (Act). The amendment, submitted by Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), provides: This Act shall not be construed to prohibit any activity proscribed by section 2 of this Act that is accidental or incidental to the presence or operation of an otherwise lawful ...
On October 17, 2017, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) published notice of its preliminary positive finding on a petition to list the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The Cascades frog inhabits a variety of habitats—including large lakes, ponds, wet meadows and streams—at mid-to-high elevations from the Klamath-Trinity region, along the Cascades Range axis in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, southward to the headwater tributaries of the Feather River. The California populations ...
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has requested (pdf) public comment on its revised Mitigation Policy and the Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy (ESA-CMP). The U.S. Department of the Interior previously noted that the Service would be seeking comments on the two policies when it issued its report entitled Review of the Department of the Interior Actions that Potentially Burden Domestic Energy in response to Executive Order 13783. These reviews are the latest step in an effort to identify and remove regulatory impediments to domestic energy ...
On October 25, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released a report entitled Review of the Department of the Interior Actions that Potentially Burden Domestic Energy identifying agency actions that potentially burden the development or use of domestic energy resources. This report, generated in response to Executive Order 13783, identifies several costly and burdensome regulations that DOI believes hamper the production or transmission of domestic energy. The report pays particular attention to the oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy sectors, and ...
It has been a busy October for the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). On October 11, 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its intention to amend the existing greater sage grouse habitat management plans. The announcement applies to 98 plans across ten states. The Obama Administration finalized the plans in 2015 after ten years of coordination among stakeholders, including tribes, local and state government, environmental organizations, and the regulated community, as previously reported here. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) relied ...
Nossaman LLP’s own Steven P. Quarles and Brooke M. Wahlberg are co-chairing CLE International’s upcoming 2nd Annual MBTA and BGEPA: Hot Topics in Avian Protection conference. This timely, in-person CLE will explore the complexities of federal wildlife laws and rules to protect migratory birds and eagles under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). Speakers will include state and federal policy makers, industry leaders, environmental advocates, and leading practitioners in the field. Held in Denver, Colorado, from November 30 through December 1, the conference presents a unique opportunity for professionals involved in and affected by endangered species issues, rules, and regulations to learn from in-depth presentations on topics including:
Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.
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