Posts tagged Court Decisions.

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 Forest Service’s Kootenai National Forest Plan (Forest Plan) that includes access-related amendments prohibiting any net permanent increase[] in linear miles of total roads.  These Forest Plan access amendments incorporate a 2011 Biological Opinion and ...

In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act.  Markle Interests, L.L.C. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 14-31008 (5th Cir. June 30, 2016).  The decision is remarkable because it upholds the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate areas as critical habitat that are not currently habitable by the frog and have not been shown likely to be ...

On June 7, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected plaintiffs’ claim, among others, that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by granting a right-of-way to a private company to develop and operate a wind energy facility.  Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell, No. 14-55842, 14-55666 (9th Cir. June 7, 2016).

Plaintiffs argued that BLM—by granting a right-of-way to Tule Wind LLC (Tule)—was "complicit" in future conduct by Tule that might result in violations of the MBTA.  Beyond this assertion of ...

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Withdrawal).  The Withdrawal signaled a complete departure from the Service’s February 2013 proposed rule to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The court’s decision is the newest chapter in what has been a contentious and storied path to a listing decision for the North American ...

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") listing the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida, Phoca hispida ochotensis, and Phoca hispida botanica) as threatened and the Ladoga subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida ladogensis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").  The State of Alaska, North Slope Borough and the Alaska Oil ...

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) request to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus).  Permian Basin Petrol. Ass 'n v. Dep 't of the Interior, No. 7:14-CV-50 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 29, 2016.).  In September 2015, the court ruled on a challenge brought by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and four New Mexico counties and vacated the final rule listing the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the ESA.  ...

On December 3, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon’s denial of a preliminary injunction sought by environmental plaintiffs to enjoin the Douglas Fire Complex Recovery Project in Oregon’s Klamath Mountains.  Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill, No. 14-35819 (9th Cir. Dec. 3, 2015).  The environmental groups asserted that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) combined recovery project and logging plan to salvage acreage burned by the Douglas Complex Fire would irreparably harm the threatened ...

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California granted the state and federal defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability (CESAR) v. Cowin, No. 1:15-cv-00884 (pdf). Plaintiff CESAR claimed that the construction and operation of an emergency drought salinity barrier (Project) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta—which is designated as critical habitat for the threatened delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus)—violates the section 9 ...

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A federal district court in Arkansas recently issued a decision clarifying that the obligation to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) extends to the Small Business Administration and the Farm Service Agency when they provide loan guarantees to farmers.  The case, Buffalo River Watershed Alliance v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Case No. 13-450 (E.D. Ark. Dec. 2, 2014), involves a concentrated animal feeding operation in Arkansas that obtained loan guarantees from the Small Business Administration and the Farm Service Agency.  The Farm Service Agency ...

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On September 23, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invalidated the final rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) delisting the Wyoming Gray Wolf distinct population segment from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Species, concluding that Wyoming's regulatory protections were unenforceable and therefore inadequate for purposes of delisting the species.  Despite this conclusion, the court still affirmed the Service's finding that the species has "recovered" and that it was not "endangered or threatened within a ...

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Last week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the designation of approximately 1,544 acres of privately-owned timber land located in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Rana sevosa), concluding that even though the frog was last spotted on the property in the 1960s and the only known wild populations of the frog are all located in the State of Mississippi, the designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) was not arbitrary or capricious.  Markle Interests, LLC v. U.S. Fish and ...

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293-JCS (pdf), plaintiffs alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act by failing to initiate and reinitiate consultation with the National Marine Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with respect to its ongoing oversight of 382 active pesticide ingredients.

As previously reported, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted EPA’s motions to dismiss for failure to state an affirmative ...

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On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted (pdf) a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal wildlife agencies concerning the potential effects of its actions on listed species in the Great Barrier Reef.

The case concerned $4.8 billion in funding for the construction of two liquefied natural gas projects in and around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. See Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Export-Import Bank of the United ...

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On July 14, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) filed a petition for writ of certiorari (pdf) with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 749 F.3d 776 (9th Cir. 2014). In an en banc decision, the Ninth Circuit found that a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) action renewing settlement contracts with senior water rights holders is subject to consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2). The Ninth Circuit’s ...

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On July 23, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential endangered species impacts of air quality regulations designed to reduce visual impacts of the Four Corners Power Plant on the Grand Canyon and other national parks.  WildEarth Guardians v. EPA, 2014 U.S.App.LEXIS 13968.  The court concluded that the EPA decision not to regulate air pollutants with potential to impact endangered fish was not an action subject to the ...

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Salamander, Sonoma, Section 9, ESA
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Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied (pdf) a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs brought suit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau), arguing the Bureau violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by approving the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (SLDMWA) Water Transfer Project, which would allow water rights holders or contractors north of the Delta to sell water to members of SLDMWA, whose members then ...

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In The Aransas Project v. Shaw, the Fifth Circuit reversed a lower court’s finding that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality violated section 9 of the Endangered Species Act through its combined actions and inactions with respect to management of water diversions in the San Antonio and Guadalupe River systems. We reported on the lower court decision here. Provided the decision stands, it suggests that the standard for liability under section 9 is not a strict liability standard, but instead requires courts to assess whether take was reasonably foreseeable drawing on common law tort principles.

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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 ...

Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Montana ordered (pdf) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to develop a timeline for completion of recovery planning for the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). The court determined that the Service’s purported justifications for not developing and implementing a recovery plan for the species were insufficient in light of its statutory duty and its own internal guidelines setting forth a timetable for recovery planning.

In Friends of the Wild Swan v. Ashe, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65378 (D. Mont. 2014), plaintiffs ...

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In Souza v. California Department of Transportation, No. 13-cv-04407 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 2014), plaintiffs sought to enjoin a project proposed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to modify U.S. Route 199 and State Route 197 in Del Norte County, California, near the Smith River. Plaintiffs challenged the adequacy of Caltrans’ consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) regarding the impacts of the project on the Southern Oregon Northern California Coast Evolutionary Significant Unit of the threatened coho salmon (SONCC coho). As ...

In a unanimous decision, eleven active judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the duty to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when a federal agency action may affect a listed species or designated critical habitat of such species applies to the decision of the Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) to renew long-term contracts to provide water to non-Federal parties. The decision, which reversed prior decisions by a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel and federal district court, effectively requires the Bureau to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding the effects of contract renewals on the threatened delta smelt and to renegotiate the contracts following such consultation.

The decision has potentially far-reaching implications in California because it suggests that even those who hold long-term contracts with the United States for the provision of water or senior water rights under state law must comply with the Endangered Species Act.

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Last Thursday, a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held (pdf) that the incidental take requirements in section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) do not apply to listed plant species.

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Land Management, No. C 03-02509 SI (N.D. Cal. Apr.3, 2014), environmental group plaintiffs challenged a biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM had engaged in section 7 consultation with the Service regarding BLM’s management of the Imperial ...

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This week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld (pdf) two settlement agreements – one between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and WildEarth Guardians, and the other between the Service and the Center for Biological Diversity – that collectively require the Service to determine whether to list 251 species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in accordance with certain deadlines. See National Association of Home Builders v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 12-2013 (Mar. 31, 2014).  Plaintiffs, who included organizations ...

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Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision (pdf) relating to the 2008 biological opinion (BiOp) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding the effects of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project on the delta smelt. The long-awaited decision (oral argument was held on September 10, 2012) reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court’s judgment invalidating the BiOp and remanding it to the Service. The opinion is authored by Judge Bybee, with partial concurrence and partial dissent by both Judge ...

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In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 11-cv-00293 (pdf), plaintiffs sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that EPA’s oversight of pesticide ingredients, including trifluralin, triggered a duty to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service about trifluralin’s possible effects on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). EPA and defendant intervenors representing the farming industry filed Rule 12(e) motions, requesting more definite statements, and alleging the complaint was so vague ...

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On November 20, 2013, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California rejected a challenge by various plaintiffs and upheld the biological opinion and incidental take statement issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility Project (Project) located in the Sonoran Desert in Imperial County, California.  See The Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Ashe, No. 12-cv-2212 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 20, 2013) (pdf).  The proposed Project, a utility-scale wind power project, would be comprised of 112 wind turbines ...

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On November 4, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California approved a settlement agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) regarding the impacts of seven pesticides on the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), which is listed under the Endangered Species Act. Pursuant to the settlement, the Service is required to consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding whether the use of glyphosate, malathion, simazine, pendimethalin, permethrin, methomyl and ...

On August 20, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held (pdf) that appellants’ claims against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an alleged failure to take certain actions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with respect to the straight-horned markhor (Capra falconeri jerdoni) were moot. 

In 1976, the Service classified the markhor as endangered under the ESA. The species’ primary habitat is the Torghar Hills along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In response to the reduction of the markhor population, local tribal leaders formed ...

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In American Forest Resource Council v. Ashe, 1:12-cv-00111 (D.D.C. Sept. 5, 2013), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) determination that the Washington, Oregon, and California (tri-state) population of the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as a distinct population segment (DPS).

Under the ESA, three factors should be considered when determining whether a population constitutes a DPS: (1) the discreteness of the population segment in ...

On July 22, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held (pdf) that plaintiffs’ claims regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) alleged violation of section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) were not subject to the 60 day notice of intent to sue (NOI) requirement.

In 1997, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) adopted a habitat conservation plan to govern logging in the forests of southwest Washington.  The marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is one of a number of endangered and threatened species covered ...

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On July 23, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed (pdf) a lower court decision upholding restrictions on commercial fishing in Alaska to protect the western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), which is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The measures, imposed in 2010 by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), restrict the mackerel and cod fisheries in the western Aleutian Islands. NMFS determined such restrictions were necessary to ensure an adequate supply of prey for the western DPS of the ...

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On July 1, 2013, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order (pdf) granting, in part, Plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys fees in Wild Equity Institute v. City and County of San Francisco, N.D. Cal. Case No. C 11-958. In the order, the court awarded plaintiffs just 25 percent of the fees requested. The court had previously dismissed the case as moot, which we reported here.

Plaintiffs initiated the lawsuit in an effort to require the City to obtain an incidental take permit under section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the operation of ...

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The Trinity River Hatchery, which is operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, has a production capacity of approximately 40 million salmonid eggs.  Operations at the Hatchery are intended to mitigate for lost salmonid habitat due to the construction and operation of various water projects.  However, a recent lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Information Center alleges that instead of mitigating for impacts to endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead, the Hatchery is "taking" the protected species ...

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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 ...

In Klamath Siskyou Wildlands Center v. MacWhorter, 1:12-cv-1900 (pdf), the United States District Court for the District of Oregon granted a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ suit alleging that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by allowing suction dredge placer mining in the Rogue River-Siskyou National Forest without consulting with federal wildlife agencies about potential effects on coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and coho salmon critical habitat.  In dismissing the case, the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction ...

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In Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed with leave to amend (pdf) a suit alleging that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service on the effects of 382 registered pesticides on endangered and threatened species.

The court dismissed the case, holding that plaintiffs failed to allege specific facts ...

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On April 25, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invalidated a consent decree that plaintiffs and three federal agency defendants asserted resolved a dispute spanning more than a decade.  See Conservation Nw. v. Sherman, No. 11-35729 (9th Cir. 2013) (pdf).  In doing so, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion when it entered the consent decree because it bypassed statutorily mandated public-participation procedures.

The Northwest Forest Plan applies to approximately 24.5 million acres of federal land ...

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In American Forest Resources Council v. Ashe, 1:12-cv-00111 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2013), the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied a joint motion for a consent decree regarding the critical habitat designation for the Washington, Oregon and California (tri-state) population of the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed the tri-state population of the marbled murrelet under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1992, finding the population constituted a distinct population segment (DPS) under the ...

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The Palila (Loxioides bailleui) is a small bird native to Hawaii that was listed as endangered in 1967.  In 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, pursuant to a stipulation submitted by the parties, issued an order requiring the State of Hawaii to conduct semi-annual  "aerial sightings" for ungulates (e.g., pigs, deer, sheep, goats, cattle) in the Palila's critical habitat area.  Further, if any ungulates are sighted, the order requires the State to "commence aerial shooting" of the ungulates. 

In 2012, the County of Hawaii, who was not a party to the ...

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On April 9, 2013, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled (pdf) on a motion (pdf) by the United States and the State of California to extend the period of time to issue new biological opinions regarding the effects of continued operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project on a number of fish species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  The U.S. and California sought a three year extension of the time to issue biological opinions that were previously held to be unlawful.  The court granted a ...

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) prevailed on March 19th in a suit brought by the Sierra Club challenging a decision by the Service to delay revision of the critical habitat designation for the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea).  The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Service's decision was not judicially reviewable under either the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) or the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37349 (D. D.C. March 19, 2013 ...

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After an unusual eight day bench trial, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas held (pdf) State officials in Texas violated the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on take of the federally listed whooping crane (Grus americana).  In holding for plaintiff The Aransas Project, the court found that defendants’ actions, inactions, and refusal to act proximately caused unlawful take of at least 23 whooping cranes during the winter of 2008-09.  The court enjoined the State from granting new water permits affecting the Guadalupe or San Antonio Rivers and required the State to prepare a habitat conservation plan for the purpose of obtaining an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA.

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In Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service, No. CIV. 2:12-02416 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2013), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied (pdf) a motion brought by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to limit review of claims brought under the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to the administrative record.  The court denied defendants' motion because it "would be premature to determine at this early stage of the proceedings" whether plaintiffs' claims should be strictly limited to ...

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On March 5, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered Natural Resources Defense Council v. Salazar, 1:05-cv-01207, to be reheard en banc pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 35(a) and Circuit Rule 35-3. Environmental groups brought the action against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), asserting Reclamation violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by renewing 41 water supply contracts without consulting with various Central Valley Project (CVP) water users.

In July 2012, a three-judge panel in the Ninth ...

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On February 27, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed (pdf) the dismissal of a Fifth Amendment takings claim based on the finding that the claim was "not ripe."  The claim is unusual because it arose in the context of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas) has a contract with the federal Bureau of Reclamation and a license with the State of California authorizing it to divert water for the Ventura River Project (Project).  The contract with the Bureau of Reclamation states that Casitas ...

In a unanimous panel decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held (pdf) that a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the effects of three pesticides on certain salmonids was not the product of reasoned decision-making.  The Fourth Circuit refused to silently rubber stamp an agency decision where NMFS failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for key aspects of that decision.  Further, the court refused to allow NMFS to offer post hoc rationalizations for its decision in the form of an expert affidavit and ...

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In Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11955, *1 (Jan. 28, 2013), the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington held (pdf) that claims arising under the citizen suit provision of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are not subject to the strictures of the record review doctrine. The court held that, since the ESA citizen suit provision creates an express, adequate remedy at law, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) only applies when there is no other adequate remedy in court ...

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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 ...

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In Jayne v. Sherman, --- F.3d ---, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 417, *1 (9th Cir. Jan. 7, 2013), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld (pdf) a biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the Idaho Roadless Rule. Plaintiffs argued that FWS violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by improperly relying on commitments from the U.S. Forest Service regarding the impact of the rule on listed grizzly bear and caribou. In rejecting plaintiffs’ arguments, the court found that FWS reasonably relied on the Forest Service’s commitments to ...

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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