Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction due to the consequences of economic growth and lack of habitat conservation.
News & Analysis as of

Utah Federal Court Strikes Down as Unconstitutional a Regulation Under the Endangered Species Act Protecting Utah Prairie Dogs on...

The Utah Prairie Dog is a species that exists only in Utah, where it lives on both federal and private land. The species is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, and a federal regulation...more

District Court Strikes Down Regulation of Purely Intrastate Species on Private Land

In a significant Endangered Species Act case, the Utah District Court has ruled that Congress may not regulate take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a purely intrastate species, on non-federal land. The court found that...more

High Court Denies Petition by Parties with Reclamation Contracts Seeking to Avoid ESA Consultation

On November 17, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Glenn Colusa Irrigation District and others seeking to overturn a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Court Finds Endangered Species Act Cannot Regulate Species on Private Lands Within a Single State

In a win for property owners and project proponents, a Utah federal district court has ruled that the United States Constitution does not authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to regulate impacts to the Utah...more

Reading the Tea Leaves: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lists, Designates Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse – Is the Greater...

On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed as “threatened” and designated over 1.4 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus), the smaller cousin of the...more

Arizona District Court Finds Sonoran Desert Bald Eagles Are Not a Distinct Population Segment

On November 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion in Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Jewell,2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157436(D. Ariz.Nov. 4, 2014) finding that the Fish and Wildlife...more

Utah Federal Judge: ESA Rule Is Unconstitutional

In a ruling that, if upheld and followed, would significantly limit the reach of federal environmental regulation, a Utah federal judge determined that regulation of a purely intrastate species listed as threatened under the...more

Numerous Parties Line Up in Support of Petition in Delta Smelt Case

As we reported here, on October 6, 2014, a number of public water agencies and other entities that represent agricultural and municipal water users in California filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme...more

Do Takes of the Utah Prairie Dog Affect Interstate Commerce? Only When McDonalds Starts Serving Prairie Burgers

Earlier this week, in a suit brought by the beautifully named People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, Judge Dee Benson ruled that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service could not regulate takes of the Utah...more

Court Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Take of Intrastate Species that Has No Substantial Effect on Commerce

On November 4th, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah invalidated the special rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulating take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a species that only...more

NMFS Finds Listing Not Warranted for Queen Conch

On November 5, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a 12-month finding for the queen conch (Strombus gigas), concluding that the species prized for its meat and shell does not warrant listing because it is “not...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List African Lions as Threatened

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced that it is proposing to list the African lion (Pantera leo leo) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed listing is the result of a...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists One Midwestern Butterfly as Threatened, Another as Endangered

On October 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae) as a threatened species and the Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek) as an endangered...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Re-Opens Comment Period for Cuckoo Under Pressure from Congress

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it will re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed...more

ESA Law Update: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List West Coast Population of Fisher as Threatened Under Endangered...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced yesterday its proposal to list the West Coast population of the fisher (Pekania pennanti) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The scientific...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List 23 Mariana Island Species as Threatened or Endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a proposed rule to list 21 species as endangered and 2 species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of the 21 species the Service proposes to list as...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo as Threatened

Last Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published its final rule listing the western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The species is an...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - California becomes first state to ban plastic bags: SFGate.com - Sep 30: Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that makes California the first state in the nation to ban single-use...more

Federal Court Agrees: Voluntary Conservation Agreements Sufficient to Keep Lizard Off the Endangered Species List

On September 30, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to withdraw its proposal to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. ...more

Court Holds Lack of Specificity Dooms Wyoming Wolf Delisting

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...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

This monthly publication provides information on compliance deadlines, regulatory developments, and other developments in federal, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire environmental and land use laws. NEW REGULATORY...more

Georgia Plant Listed and 732 Acres Designated

On September 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice of its final rule listing the Georgia rockcress (Arabis georgiana) as a threatened plant species under the Endangered Species Act. On the...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Protection for Canada Lynx

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule revising the critical habitat designation for the contiguous United States distinct population segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and...more

Federal Wolf Program Could Threaten Energy Development in the Permian Basin

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (“FWS”) has announced an intention to revise the scope of the agency’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, significantly expanding the geographic area within southern Arizona and New...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Two Florida Plants as Endangered

Last Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing two plants as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The two species, Florida brickell-bush (Brickellia mosieri) and Carter’s...more

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