The Center for Biological Diversity filed four lawsuits in federal district courts in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, California, Portland, Oregon, and Tucson, Arizona over petitions for species listings filed over the past decade. The lawsuits against the Obama administration are aimed at forcing the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a finding on the listing petitions.
The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to make a "12-month finding" on listing petitions within one year of receipt. The 12-month finding may consist of one of three determinations:
- listing is "warranted," and the Service must publish a proposed rule to list the species;
- listing is "not warranted" and no further action is taken; or
- listing is "warranted but precluded" by other listing actions of higher priority.
However, the Service often takes more than a year to make a determination on a listing petition due to the number of petitions it receives, budget constraints, and litigation-imposed deadlines. A few of the species at issue in the lawsuits include the California golden trout, Cactus Ferruginous pygmy owl, Mount Charleston butterfly, Mojave fringe-toed lizard, and Mojave ground squirrel.
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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