Sarah Wells

Sarah Wells

Sarah Wells focuses her practice primarily on natural resources law, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). She also addresses federal public lands issues and has experience in Texas and local environmental and land use laws. Ms. Wells currently advises electric utility and renewable energy industry groups on federal wildlife issues and counsels potential investors in renewable energy projects on adherence to federal wildlife laws. She also advises interstate pipeline projects on federal wildlife concerns and assists in the development of habitat conservation plans and species conservation banking initiatives.

Subscribe to all posts by Sarah Wells

Cascades Frog Takes Another Leap Toward Listing under CESA

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 … Continue Reading

Executive Order Aims to Streamline Environmental Permitting of Infrastructure Projects

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 … Continue Reading

Hualapai Mexican Vole Removed from List of Endangered Species Due to Erroneous Listing

On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) promulgated a long-awaited final rule to delist the Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis) (HMV) due to the Service’s determination that the original 1987 listing of the HMV under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was in error.  Based upon more recent scientific and commercial … 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

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Joins List of Endangered Species Despite Delay

On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The rusty patched bumble bee’s historic range encompassed areas of 28 states and the District of Columbia (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, … Continue Reading

Texas Cactus and Three Other Species Proposed for Downlisting or Delisting by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On December 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to reclassify the Tobusch fishhook cactus (Sclerocactus brevihamatus ssp. tobuschii), downlisting the species from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service concluded that, while the Cactus is not in danger of extinction, it is likely to … Continue Reading

Second-Ever Eagle Programmatic Take Permit Soon To Be Granted For California Wind Energy Facility

On November 1, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its plan to issue what will be only the second programmatic eagle take permit under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) permit program since the program’s establishment in 2009.  Programmatic permits may be sought to authorize eagle take that is associated with, but is not … Continue Reading

ESA Roundup – Listing Decisions and Recovery Actions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have issued listing decisions on a number of species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in recent days, and USFWS has announced notable changes in its recovery strategy for the red wolf. On September 7, 2016, USFWS reopened the comment period for its … Continue Reading
LexBlog