On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced 12-month not warranted findings on petitions to list 25 species as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is likely that the Service’s not warranted findings represent the Trump administration’s departure from the previous administration’s 90-day determinations wherein the Service found that the petitions contain substantial information that listing may be warranted. For over half of the 25 species, the not warranted findings satisfy the terms of various ...
In July we reported on five bills that propose to amend various aspects of the Endangered Species Act:
- H.R. 2603 - would remove listings of non-native species;
- H.R. 717 - would modify the process for listing determinations;
- H.R. 3131 - would require a party to prevail in order to recover attorneys' fees and place a cap on fees;
- H.R. 1274 - would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make listing determination data available to impacted states; and
- H.R. 424 - would require the Department of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to the listing of the gray wolf in the ...
On Friday, September 29, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced its withdrawal of the proposed rule listing the Kenk’s amphipod (Stygobromus kenki), an aquatic crustacean, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service originally proposed to list the amphipod, which occurs in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, in September 2016 due to the impacts of water quality, water quantity, and other collateral impacts of urbanization near the species’ habitat. In support of its decision to withdraw the proposed ...
On September 20, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed three separate species under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"). USFWS listed the Sonoyta mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) as endangered, and the 'I'iwi (Drepanis coccinea) and pearl darter (Percina aurora) as threatened species under the ESA. Despite listing all three species, the USFWS deferred designating critical habitat for the three species. The three listing decisions, all of which were compelled by settlements that the USFWS entered into during the Obama administration, are summarized below.
On August 28, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court decision upholding a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) determination that the Sonoran Desert Area bald eagle does not constitute a distinct population segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Zinke, No. 14-17513, 2017 WL 3687443 (9th Cir. Aug. 28, 2017). The court deferred to the Service’s interpretation of its DPS policy, holding that the Service reasonably applied the relevant factors and considered scientific evidence to support ...
On August 17, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule designating critical habitat for the endangered New York Bight, Chesapeake Bay, Carolina, and South Atlantic Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), and the threatened Gulf of Maine DPS of Atlantic sturgeon. Collectively, the critical habitat designations total approximately 4,000 miles of aquatic habitat for the five DPSs.
Specific areas designated as critical habitat for the five DPSs are as follows:
- Gulf of Maine DPS: approximately 244 ...
In furtherance of the administration's broad infrastructure initiative, President Trump on August 15 signed an executive order (EO) entitled Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects. The EO directs federal agencies to make coordinated, predictable, transparent, and timely decisions with the goal of completing all federal environmental reviews and authorization decisions for major infrastructure projects within two years. Infrastructure project is defined by the EO to encompass ...
On August 9, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a 12-month finding on a petition to list the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), concluding that listing at this time is not warranted. NMFS determined that the species is not endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and that it is not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.
NMFS’s 12-month finding follows the Center for Biological Diversity’s June 20, 2016 petition to list the ...
On August 1, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision in Humane Society of the U.S. v. Zinke, Case No. 15-5041 (Aug. 1, 2017), affirming a district court decision that keeps the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Grey Wolves on the List of Endangered and Threatened Species. Plaintiffs in the case allege that the Secretary of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (collectively, Service) 2011 Final Rule (Rule) removing the DPS from the list of endangered and threatened species failed to consider two key ...
On July 19, 2017, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a full committee legislative hearing on five bills that would amend portions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
- H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson; D-MN) – This bill would require the Department of Interior to reissue the final rules relating to the listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming.
- H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olsen; R-TX) – This bill would remove the 90-day and 12-month deadlines for making listing determinations and allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries ...
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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