On June 23, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed the strict application of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) pre-litigation notice requirements, dismissing a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) failed to timely act on a number of listing petitions because the violations stated in the pre-litigation notice and complaint did not occur until after the litigation was filed. Friends of Animals v. Ashe, No. 13-1607 (D.D.C. June 23, 2014).
Under the ESA, after a listing petition has been filed, the Service is obligated ...
Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (H.R. 2919), which would amend existing law to require the Executive Branch to provide an annual report to Congress on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded to prevailing parties, other than the United States, in certain administrative proceedings and civil suits, including certain lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act and other environmental statutes. The Act would require the report to account for all payments of fees and other expenses awarded made pursuant to a ...
In August 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule to delist the Hawaiian hawk (Buteo solitarius), also referred to as the io, from the federal list of endangered or threatened species. The proposed rule states that the proposed action is "based on a thorough review of the best available scientific data, which indicates that range-wide population estimates have been stable for at least 20 years, and the species has recovered and is not likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of ...
Yesterday, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a second hearing regarding implementation and impacts of the Endangered Species Act. Today's hearing was titled: Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?: The impacts of the Obama Administration's Closed-Door Settlement on Endangered Species and People. In a summary description issued before the hearing, the Committee stated that it anticipated the hearing would "highlight how the lack of data transparency is leading to increased numbers of species being listed and critical habitat being ...
On March 29, 2013, after more than 11 years of litigation, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that a defendant, as the prevailing party, was entitled to attorneys' fees under the Endangered Species Act's fee shifting provision. See Animal Welfare Institute v. Feld Entertainment, Inc., No. 03-2006 (D.D.C. Mar. 29, 2013) (pdf).
The fee provision states, in relevant part, "in issuing any final order in any suit brought" under the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act, a court, in its discretion, "may award costs of ...
On February 1, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its proposal to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed listing is the result of a court-ordered deadline established by a controversial settlement between the Service and two environmental organizations. (See our posts from January 4 and January 14 for a discussion of this controversy.)
The wolverine resembles a small bear. Adults weigh between 17 and 40 pounds. The range of the species includes portions of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana ...
On January 10, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Alaska issued an order (pdf) vacating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's critical habitat designation for the polar bear after concluding that the Service failed to comply with substantive and procedural requirements in the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the district court found that the administrative record produced by the Service failed to contain evidence of the essential "physical or biological features" necessary to justify the designation of two large areas as critical ...
On January 4, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held (pdf) that Safari Club International (Safari Club) lacked standing to intervene as a matter of right in the litigation that resulted in two stipulated judgments establishing procedures and deadlines for reviewing listing and critical habitat determinations for 251 candidate species, thereby affirming the decision of the district court. (A short discussion of the history leading up to these settlements can be found here and here.)
The Safari Club asserted that it had a procedural ...
On December 17, 2012, the National Association of Home Builders, the Olympia Master Builders, the Home Builder Association of Greater Austin, and the Texas Salamander Coalition, Inc., filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ken Salazar, in his official capacity, alleging that when the Service entered into stipulated settlements with WildEarth Guardians (pdf) and the Center for Biological Diversity (pdf) establishing procedures and deadlines for reviewing the listing and critical habitat determinations for 251 candidate species ...
On July 27, 2011, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings announced that the Committee will "move forward" in the fall to examine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in an effort to reauthorize the law. Chairman Hastings issued his statement shortly after the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Norm Dicks to the FY 2012 Interior Appropriations Bill that restored funding to the ESA's listing program. The original spending bill would have eliminated funding for the processing of petitions, preparation of 12-month findings, and issuance of final rules ...
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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