Archives: Court Decisions

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Ninth Circuit Holds ESA Listing of Arctic Ringed Seal Is Not Arbitrary and Capricious Despite Lack of Existing Quantitative Data

On February 12, 2018, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, Case No. 16-35380, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a 2016 decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska that vacated a final regulation listing the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida, Phoca … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules Migratory Bird Treaty Act Permits Take of Barred Owl to Study Impacts on Conservation of Threatened Northern Spotted Owl

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed (pdf) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) permit allowing take of the barred owl (Strix varia) to protect the threatened Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) did not violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).  The U.S. District Court … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Partially Reverses Agencies’ Sea Turtle and Migratory Bird Conclusions Related to Swordfish Fishery Expansion

On December 27, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit partially reversed and remanded a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, delaying if not derailing an expansion in shallow-set longline swordfish fisheries.  Environmental groups brought claims against the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) and the U.S. … Continue Reading

House of Representatives Seeks To Clarify Lack Of Liability for Incidental and Accidental Take under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

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 … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Defers to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Distinct Population Segment Determination

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. … Continue Reading

Nevada Solar Project Survives Ninth Circuit Review Despite Impacts to Tortoise Connectivity

On May 18, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment decision in favor of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and other federal officials in an action brought by an environmental organization concerning the possible impacts of a Nevada solar power facility on … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds Forest Service’s Construction of New Roads in Grizzly Bear Habitat

On May 17, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and upheld the U.S. Forest Service’s (Forest Service) decision to construct 4.7 miles of new roads in the Kootenai National Forest. The Kootenai National Forest is managed pursuant to the … Continue Reading
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