On May 22, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a proposal to list two intriguing North Carolina aquatic species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FWS was spurred to act in part by a 2010 petition and subsequent litigation from environmental organizations to list over 400 aquatic species found in the southeastern United States. The two species the agency deems as needing protection in this proposed rule are the Carolina madtom (Noturus furiosus), a poisonous catfish, and the Neuse River waterdog (Necturus lewisi), a freshwater salamander.
The Carolina ...
On April 29, 2019, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-10-19 (EO) directing the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Finance (collectively, the agencies), to prepare a 21st century water resilience portfolio to meet the needs of California’s communities, economy and environment in the face of water supply uncertainty, climate change and the state’s growing population. The EO’s sweeping directive requires the agencies ...
On May 3, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to downlist the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) from endangered to threatened. The Service also proposed a rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to allow many routine activities to occur within the range of the species, even if they result in incidental take of the species, in light of the fact that such activities do not affect the overall viability of the American burying beetle.
The American burying beetle is a nocturnal species that has a one year ...
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that environmental groups have standing to challenge the federal government’s killing of gray wolves in Idaho without conducting additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Western Watersheds Project et al. v. Grimm, No. 18-35075 (9th Cir. 2019).
Environmental groups brought an action against the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services (Wildlife Services), alleging that NEPA requires Wildlife Services to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and ...
Over the last few weeks, besides proposing to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species (which we covered here), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has made a few other moves related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
On Monday, April 8, 2019, the Service published a final rule, removing one species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species, adding 16 separate species to the list, and updating the existing entries for 17 more species. Specifically, the Service added the following species to the ESA List: Gulf grouper ...
On March 28, 2019, a federal judge overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) rejection of a petition to delist an endangered karst invertebrate species, the Bone Cave harvestman (Texella reyeisi) (BCH), which is known to occur only in central Texas.
American Stewards of Liberty and others (Plaintiffs) had claimed that USFWS’ rejection of a 2014 petition to delist the BCH was arbitrary and capricious because, among other things, USFWS based its rejection on the petition’s supposed failure to provide BCH population trend data that was unavailable and is ...
On March 27, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Kisor v. Wilkie (No. 18-15), focusing on whether Auer deference should be overruled. While the dispute is not environmental in nature, this case has nonetheless attracted significant attention from the environmental community due to the potentially significant implications to environmental litigation. Auer deference (or Seminole Rock deference) requires courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations. Enforcement actions ...
On March 15, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. As we reported here, the Service announced its intention to issue the proposed rule earlier this month. According to the Service, the species’ population has rebounded considerably since it was originally listed in 1978, when the population estimate was approximately 1,000 individuals. Now, the Service estimates there is a Great Lakes meta-population with approximately 4,400 individuals, along with an ...
Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, David Bernhardt, recently announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will publish a proposed rule removing federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for the endangered gray wolf (Canis lupus). Secretary Bernhardt announced the plan at the 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference in Denver, Colorado.
The gray wolf was originally listed as endangered in March 1978 throughout the contiguous United States, except in Minnesota, where the Service classified the species as ...
On February 26, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed rule to delist the Borax Lake chub (Gila boraxobius), a small fish that currently resides primarily in a single Oregon lake. Currently listed as an endangered species, the proposed rule states that the best available scientific and commercial information "indicates that the threats to the Borax Lake chub have been eliminated or reduced to the point where the species no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act . . . ." The Federal Register notice ...
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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