9th Circuit Upholds Critical Habitat Designation For Mexican Spotted Owl


Arizona Cattle Growers' Ass'n v. Salazar, ___ F.3d ___, No. 08-15810 (9th Cir. 2010)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this month decided two key issues related to the designation of critical habitat for species protected under the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"): (1) what constitutes an "occupied" area for purposes of designating critical habitat; and (2) the proper approach to analyzing the economic impacts of a critical habitat designation. The Ninth Circuit ruled for the Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) on both issues, deferring to the agency's interpretation of "occupied" and approving the agency's use of the "baseline" approach.

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