Endangered Species Act (ESA)

News & Analysis as of

NMFS Publishes Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Recovery Plan

On January 5, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published notice of the availability of the final Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas). The Endangered Species Act (ESA)...more

Predictions and Outlook for U.S. Federal and International Chemical Regulatory Policy 2017

Predictions and Outlook for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) 2017 - 2016 was full of surprises, two of which will drive much of the agenda for OCSPP during 2017. First, Congress...more

Revised Eagle “Incidental Take” Permit Regulations Strike a Better Balance

In December 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued new regulations that provide an important mechanism for renewable energy, transmission line and other development projects to obtain eagle “incidental...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Finalizes First-Ever ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy

On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its final Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (Policy) – the first policy to comprehensively address compensatory mitigation under...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Permit Program Revisions, Announces Intent to Prioritize Bald and Golden Eagle...

On December 16, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a long-awaited final rule (Rule) revising the regulations that govern the Service’s eagle take permit program (Eagle Permit Program) under the Bald and...more

2016 Year-End ESA Round-Up

The last few weeks of 2016 involved several activities relating to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the following: On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued the final ESA...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Revamp of Eagle Permit Rule: What You Need to Know

On December 16, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule (Final Rule) revising its 2009 regulations establishing requirements for issuance of permits for “non-purposeful take” of bald and...more

Black-Capped Vireo to be Removed From Endangered List, Un-Capping Development in Texas and Oklahoma

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“USFWS” or “Service”) published a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) to remove the black-capped vireo (“BCV”) from the list of endangered and threatened species under...more

Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes De-Listing the Black Capped Vireo

On December 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to remove the black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla) from the list of Endangered and Threatened Species. The Service has concluded...more

Presidential Pulse: 10 Key Ways the Trump Administration May Impact The Way You Do Business in 2017

Today marks just over a month since Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States. As each cabinet appointment is announced, we get more clues to help us predict which direction the Trump...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Changes to Mitigation Policy

On November 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published the final revisions to its Mitigation Policy. The Mitigation Policy, first published in 1981, guides the Service’s recommendations and requirements...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Annual Candidate Notice

The Candidate Notice of Review is an annual appraisal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. A “candidate” species is a species for...more

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Challenges U.S Fish and Wildlife’s Release of Mexican Wolves

Pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) appeal from a district court decision enjoining the Service from releasing Mexican wolves into New Mexico...more

Projecting the Future: Court Upholds Listing for Bearded Seals - Ninth Circuit Decision Based on Projections of Climate Change...

In Alaska Oil & Gas Ass'n v. Pritzker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld a rule listing two species of seals as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) based on climate change...more

USFWS Initiates Status Review for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently published a positive 90-day finding on a petition to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and three distinct population segments as endangered...more

Environmental Groups Sue Federal Agencies Again in Unending Legal Battle Over Offshore Oil Development

On November 11, 2016, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper jointly filed suit against several federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Concludes Iliamna Lake Harbor Seals Are Not Distinct Population, Denies Endangered Species Act...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, a large freshwater lake in Alaska connected to...more

Impacts of the 2016 U.S. Election on Environmental Law, Policy, and Enforcement

The 2016 election results will have wide-ranging impacts on the future direction of environmental law, policy, and enforcement in the U.S. With 100 lawyers in offices around the U.S. focused on environmental and natural...more

What Now? U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Post-Election Outlook

Seyfarth Synopsis: With a dramatic change from a progressive democratic to a conservative republican administration, we anticipate that EPA is not only likely to pivot away from an enforcement heavy to a more business...more

Trump’s Impact on Environmental Law? Let the Speculation Begin!

What will a Trump Presidency mean for environmental law? I’m not sure my crystal ball if better than anyone else’s, but here are a few quick thoughts...more

Endangered Fish v. Humans: The Fight Over Competing Water Needs

The struggle to allocate scarce water resources between endangered and threatened fish and humans is not new. But droughts in the Southwest, which lower stream flows, and population increases, which raise demand, have...more

New Administration Means Big Changes for Endangered Species

The election of Donald Trump as President, together with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, is likely to lead to important policy changes across a range of issues. While administration of the Endangered Species...more

EPA Issues Final 2016 NPDES Pesticide General Permit

On November 1, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit for Point Source Discharges from the Application of...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Adds Ten Species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Updates the Listings of Five...

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule adding ten species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and updating the listings of five other species. Of the ten new...more

Use of long-term climate projections for bearded seal listing not necessarily a bellwether for Endangered Species Act decisions

The Ninth Circuit this week upheld a National Marine Fisheries Service decision to list the Pacific bearded seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act based primarily on threats from climate change, reversing a...more

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