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

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

Upcoming Listing Decision on Northern Long-Eared Bat May Have Far-Reaching Impacts on Industry

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced the reopening of the comment period on the Service’s proposed rule to list the northern long-eared bat (“NLEB”). 79 Fed. Reg. 68657. ...more

Endangered Species Act Roundup – Three For the Price of One

Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow. Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that...more

Notice Period Doesn't Cause 9th Circ. To Pause on ESA

The decision by the Ninth Circuit in Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, No. 13-35253 (9th Cir. Nov. 20, 2014), permitting plaintiffs to amend a complaint to add claims under the federal Endangered...more

NMFS Publishes Corrected Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Arctic Ringed Seal

On December 9, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Secretary of Commerce published a revised proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal. The previous proposed rule was published...more

Court Holds Small Business Administration and Farm Service Agency Must Consult on Loan Guarantees

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...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate List

On December 5, 2014 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its Fiscal Year 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate list. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), when the USFWS either receives a petition...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Biological Opinion for Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit Program

On November 24, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) issued a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit Program under the Clean Water Act. The BiOp...more

The Fat Lady Who Hasn’t Sung, Oil Field Technology, and a Lizard

Today is a grab-bag of topics, a pastiche if your college tuition was higher than mine. When Will the Fat Lady Sing? El Paso Marketing, LP v. Wolf Hollow I, L.P., involving a gas plant Supply Agreement,...more

Ninth Circuit Lifts the Veil: Explains How to Comply With Endangered Species Act 60-Day Notice Requirement

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposes certain procedural hurdles on any would-be plaintiff commencing a citizen suit to compel compliance with the ESA. One of the more substantive requirements is the 60-day notice...more

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

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