News & Analysis as of

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Court Rules DOJ Enforcement Directive Arbitrary and Capricious

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on

A U.S. District Court in Arizona has ruled that DOJ’s narrow interpretation of the requirements for a criminal misdemeanor under the Endangered Species Act went beyond unreviewable prosecutorial discretion, and its policy was...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

by Nossaman LLP on

On June 22, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will delist the Yellowstone population of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). According to the...more

Environmental Case Law Update – 1st Six Months of 2017

On March 21, 2017, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc. This case concerns the operation and application of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA). ...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period for Five Proposed Rules

by Nossaman LLP on

Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) issued a notice in the Federal Register that it was reopening the comment period on five proposed rules for four plant species. Specifically, the proposed rules...more

Impact of Ninth Circuit Upholding Biological Opinion for Silver State South Solar Project in Nevada

by Perkins Coie on

In Defenders of Wildlife v. Zinke, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to assess the impacts on the threatened desert tortoise from the...more

With Mining Law Segregation on 10 Million Acres to Expire in Three Months, Interior Forms Sage-Grouse Review Team

by Stoel Rives LLP on

Late Wednesday Secretary of the Interior Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3353 establishing a Sage-Grouse Review Team to review the Obama Administration’s 2015 amendments to federal land use management plans. To avoid listing...more

Secretary Zinke Orders Review of Sage-grouse Management Plans

by Nossaman LLP on

On June 8th, 2017, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3353, entitled “Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Cooperation with Western States.” This Order initiates the assessment of both...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Proposes Revised Guidance for Recovery Plans

by Nossaman LLP on

On May 31, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued proposed revised guidance for the development of recovery plans as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal is aimed at prioritizing...more

Nevada Solar Project Survives Ninth Circuit Review Despite Impacts to Tortoise Connectivity

by Nossaman LLP on

On May 18, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment decision in favor of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and other federal officials in an...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Forest Service’s Construction of New Roads in Grizzly Bear Habitat

by Nossaman LLP on

On May 17, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana and upheld the U.S. Forest Service’s (Forest Service) decision to construct 4.7 miles...more

U.S. District Court Finds EPA Erred in Approving Pesticides Known To Impact Endangered Species

by Nossaman LLP on

On May 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted, in part, a motion for summary judgment brought by plaintiffs in a suit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”)...more

Congress Includes Many Statements of Environmental Policy and Preferences in Omnibus Appropriations Act

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 authorized appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2017. This large and copious bill provides funding for all Federal agencies for this fiscal year. The Congressional committees included...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Determination on the Whitebark Pine

by Nossaman LLP on

On April 28, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the District of Montana’s finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) determination...more

Perhaps It Should Be Renamed the “Really, Really, Endangered Species Act”

Last Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court decision ruling that the Fish & Wildlife Service decision that listing of the whitebark pine as endangered or threatened was “warranted, but precluded”...more

Court Rules Forest Products Industry Group Has Standing to Challenge Critical Habitat Designation

by Perkins Coie on

A forest products trade association has standing to challenge the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held in Carpenters Industrial Council...more

ESA Round-Up – April 2017

by Nossaman LLP on

Despite a slow start to 2017, largely due to the White House Memorandum delaying the effective date of new regulations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is picking up steam.  In April 2017, the Service initiated...more

State Sovereignty, Meet the Supremacy Clause

Earlier this week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court decision and vacated an injunction which had prevented the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf onto certain...more

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Listing Begins to Sting

by Locke Lord LLP on

On April 17, 2017, a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois granted a temporary restraining order halting construction of a six-mile stretch of highway in suburban Chicago in response to allegations by project...more

Court Sends EPA Back to the Drawing Board on Temperature Limits in Oregon Waters

by Nossaman LLP on

On April 11, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon ruled on parties’ objections to a federal magistrate judge’s findings and recommendations in a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection...more

A Closer Look at President Trump's Executive Order on Energy Independence

by Holland & Knight LLP on

President Donald Trump's Executive Order (EO) entitled "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth" is a broad directive accomplishing a number of the Trump Administration's energy-related priorities....more

U.S. Army Corps Reissues Fifty Existing and Two New Nationwide Permits

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

On March 19, 2017, 52 new or reissued nationwide permits (NWPs) for discharges into “waters of the United States,” issued pursuant to Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act...more

AFRC Has Standing To Challenge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 Designation Of 9.5M Acres Of Federal Forest Lands As...

On April 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the lower court and held, owlin a unanimous opinion, that the American Forest Resource Council has standing to challenge the U.S. Fish and...more

U.S. Army Corps Issues 2017 Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits

by Latham & Watkins LLP on

Modifications and updates to the general permits will impact both new and ongoing projects, including in energy, mining, transportation, and construction sectors. Key Points: - Nationwide Permits 12 and 14, which...more

Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened

by Nossaman LLP on

On April 5, 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule in the Federal Register reclassifying the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species...more

Tenth Circuit Reverses Ruling Limiting Endangered Species Act Jurisdiction Over Intra-State Species

The Tenth Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals dashed the hopes of property rights activists by overturning a district court decision that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had no jurisdiction under the Endangered Species Act...more

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