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New Faces and Departures at the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This week, the media has reported two changes in key roles at the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”).  Greg Sheehan has reportedly left his role as Principal Deputy Director of USFWS.  Sheehan had held the role since appointed by DOI Secretary Zinke in June 2017.  As the Trump … Continue Reading

Federal Greater Sage Grouse Conservation Plans Revisited

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has announced a 90-day comment period on proposed amendments to six Resource Management Plans (“RMPs”) and associated draft Environmental Impact Statements (“DEISs”) designed to protect the greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).  In 2015, BLM finalized RMPs that addressed greater sage grouse conservation efforts across ten states.  The six RMPs … Continue Reading

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to Address Cutting Edge Topics at Upcoming Wind Project Siting & Environmental Compliance Conference

AWEA’s 2018 Wind Project Siting & Environmental Compliance Conference will be held from March 20-21, in Memphis, Tennessee.  Nossaman Environment and Land Use Partner Brooke Wahlberg and Senior Policy Advisor John Anderson will both be participating in the conference, where leaders from the wind industry, environmental permitting and compliance sector, the scientific community and regulatory … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeking Comments on Mitigation Policies

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 … Continue Reading

ESA Reform Update

Battle lines are being drawn in connection with ongoing efforts by lawmakers to reform the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  In a letter addressed to the leaders of both houses of Congress, the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources, more than 400 groups requested lawmakers to oppose any bill, … Continue Reading

Texas Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Based On Sea Turtle Concerns

On March 13, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction relying primarily on Endangered Species Act (ESA) claims, halting operation of a mooring project on the Lydia Ann Channel near Corpus Christi, Texas. Friends of Lydia Ann Channel U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Lydia Ann Channel … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules Injury from Future Water Rights Restrictions Too Speculative for Article III Standing

On February 21, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District (collectively, “Water Contractors”) lacked Article III standing to pursue an Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) claim against the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (collectively, the “Federal … Continue Reading

President Trump Announces Supreme Court Nominee

On January 31, 2017, President Trump announced Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the ninth seat of the United States Supreme Court, left vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing in February 2016.  Judge Gorsuch currently sits as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  President George … Continue Reading
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