Endangered Species Act (ESA)

News & Analysis as of

US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains

On July 7, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its Record of Decision (ROD) for the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). This is the final step in a process...more

The Dusky Gopher Frog Causes Big Problems for Industrial and Commercial Development in Parts of St. Tammany Parish

In 2010, under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“the FWS”) designated 6,477 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the Rana sevosa or the dusky gopher...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Informational Standing Nonexistent Prior to 12-Month Finding

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of an environmental organization’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) claim, concluding that the organization lacked standing...more

DC Circuit Judge Rogers Delivers 3 Important Administrative Rulings in 1 Day

July 15 was a busy day at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as five important decisions werethree issued. What was remarkable and worth noting is that Judge Judith Rogers, a member of the court...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of “Uninhabitable” Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of "Uninhabitable" Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National...more

Bipartisan ESA Bill Proposes Funding for State Programs

In a year that has already seen its fair share of attempts to reform the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), another proposal has made its way into the House of Representatives. Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Debbie...more

Bureau to Take Closer Look at Offshore Wind Project

On July 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Hopper, Acting Director of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, reviewed the District Court’s dismissal...more

Princesses Everywhere Embrace Recent Decision, Private Land Property Owners Not So Much

This decision is reminiscent of a fairytale about a princess and her frog prince and the croaking chorus of the Frogs of Aristophane. On June 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a significant ruling...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Increases Civil Penalties

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published an interim rule (pdf) revising its civil procedure regulations for the assessment of civil penalties for violations of various laws and regulations within the Service’s...more

Federal Wildlife Agencies Release Draft Revisions to Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released draft revisions to their joint Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (Handbook).  The proposed revisions are...more

US FWS Releases Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan

On April 15, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued its Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) proposing a regional approach to...more

Court Enjoins Wolf Releases in New Mexico

The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico issued an opinion and order enjoining the United States from releasing captive-bred wolves within the State of New Mexico without first obtaining importation and...more

Congress’ Directive to Service to Reinstate Captive-Bred Exemption Upheld

Since the celebrated Supreme Court decision of Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, which for a time sidetracked the Antelopeconstruction of the Tellico Dam, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been recognized as a...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Injury Exists Where Statutory Enactment Denies Plaintiff’s Right to Information; Upholds Section 9 Exemption...

On June 3, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in Friends of Animals v. Jewell (No. 1:14-cv-00357) that Plaintiff Friends of Animals (“Plaintiff”) had Article III standing to pursue a constitutional...more

Special Session?

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton spent the Memorial Day holiday weekend reviewing the details of the spending and tax bills the Legislature delivered for his signature at the conclusion of the 2016 session....more

USFWS Issues 90-day Finding for Midwestern Moose Population

On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 90-day finding that listing populations of the Northwestern moose (Alces alces andersoni) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted. The...more

If At First You Do Not Succeed: Fish and Wildlife Service Tries Again With 30-Year Eagle Act Permit

On May 6, 2016, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS or Service) published a proposed rule (Proposed Rule) that would substantially change how the Service administers its conservation and management program under the Bald and...more

Wolf-Rider Introduced in House Funding Bill

As recently reported by the Center for Biological Diversity, a rider has been proposed for an appropriations bill that would provide $1.5 billion to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2017.  The controversial rider would...more

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

On May 6, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (the Proposed Rule) to revise its 2009 rule establishing the requirements for issuance of permits for “non-purposeful take” of bald and...more

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Appeal Abandoned

After filing an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit less than two weeks prior, on May 10, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) filed an unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog

On May 11, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule designating approximately 65,038 acres and 20.3 river miles of critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). The acres and...more

6 Key Takeaways from the FWS’s Proposed Update to the Eagle Act Rules

On May 2, 2016, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its second attempt to revise its rules authorizing eagle take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). The rule would extend the...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Authorizes Take of the Last Known Wild Jaguar in the United States

On April 28, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a revised Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Permit for the Rosemont Copper Mine in Pima County, Arizona. USFWS originally issued a Biological Opinion...more

Feds Spawn New Rules and Policies for Protected Species Habitat and Mitigation

Federal agencies charged under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) with species protection have recently hatched revisions to regulations and policies that change substantially the determination and protection of habitat for...more

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