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

Wildlife Agencies Propose Overhaul of ESA’s Petition Process for Species Listings

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (“the Services”), the two agencies that administer the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), recently published a proposed rule designed to improve the...more

A Permit System May Finally Arrive for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - New Opportunities and Responsibilities

For years, Federal Courts have held that individuals can be held criminally liable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the death of birds regardless of whether they intended to harm them. While several courts have...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Wildlife Agencies Propose Regulatory Changes to Species-Listing Process Under Endangered Species Act

On May 18, 2015, the federal agencies that oversee the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service proposed significant changes to the process by which...more

Federal Government Proposes Revisions to Endangered Species Act Regulations

While a number of Endangered Species Act (ESA) reform bills continue to wind their way through Congress (see our May 6, 2015 post), Monday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)...more

Friday May 15th Is Endangered Species Day

This Friday, April 15, marks the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day. Events are scheduled throughout the country to recognize conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats, which have occurred...more

Bats in the Balance: Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing and Interim 4(d) Rule

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently listed the northern long-eared bat (the “Bat”) as a “threatened” species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and issued an interim “species-specific” rule...more

Federal Wildlife Agencies Issue Final Rule Codifying Practice of Using Surrogates in Incidental Take Statements

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the wildlife agencies) issued a final rule amending the regulations governing consultation under section 7 of the...more

The Northern Long-Eared Bat’s listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act could affect development in the Northeastern...

On April 1, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) announced that it would list the northern long-eared bat as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The listing comes in response to a...more

Tenth Circuit Upholds Roadway Project On Lands Formerly Used To Manufacture Nuclear Weapons

On April 17, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court decision upholding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) approval of a roadway project in the Rocky Flats area of...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Proposed Critical Habitat Rule for Zuni Bluehead Sucker

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reopened the public comment period on its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), a fish...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

Federal Court Strikes Down Habitat Conservation Plan and Biological Opinion for Logging Project in Northern California

On April 3, 2015, a federal district court in California put the brakes on a proposed logging project, invalidating a habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and...more

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service determined...more

Endangered Species Rule Roundup: April 6-7, 2015

After a relatively quiet start to the year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) have issued findings and rules regarding the proposed listings of four separate species under the...more

When Uncertainty Surrounds California Solar Project, Court Defers to Agency Not Tortoise

Project opponents have been invoking the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with increasing regularity in an attempt to block the construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. ...more

Will U.S. Export-Import Bank Financing of Australian LNG Projects be Cast Adrift on the “High Seas” by the Endangered Species Act?

We have previously reported on cases in which opponents to energy projects continue to expand their challenges to include not just direct sponsors of the projects, but their financial supporters as well. In particular, we...more

USFWS Publishes Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing Decision, Opts for Interim 4(d) Rule

In a long-anticipated move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”)has published a final listing decision and interim rule on the northern long-eared bat. The Service listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened...more

“21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act” Introduced in House

On March 26, 2015, House of Representatives Republican Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill (H.R. 1667) to amend Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require the Secretary of Interior to “make publicly...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Accepts Two Petitions to List the Porbeagle Shark

On March 27, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accepted two petitions asking NMFS to list the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act either throughout the...more

Agencies Must Aim for Recovery of the Species When Designating Critical Habitat

In a decision issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) interpretation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), finding that its interpretation of the critical habitat...more

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Action Alleging San Francisco Violated the Endangered Species Act

In a three-page memorandum decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed Wild Equity and other groups’ appeal from a lower court decision, dismissing as moot a lawsuit alleging that the City and...more

Court Upholds Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Windfarm

On March 17, 2015, Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) issuance of an incidental take permit...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues a 90-Day Finding and a Proposed Rule

On March 3, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued two Federal Register notices – a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as either threatened or endangered, and...more

Outdated requirement results in continued listing of species determined to be recovered

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992,...more

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