Endangered Species Act (ESA) Incidental Take Permits

News & Analysis as of

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 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

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

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

Environmental Case Law Update

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Many important environmental and administrative law decisions were reported by the federal and state courts over the past six months. The courts are dealing with very...more

D.C. Circuit Overturns FWS Approval of Wind Farm Due to Bat Concerns

The U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit recently held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving an Ohio wind energy project without looking at all...more

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Incidental Take Statements Not Required for Plant Species

On August 15, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision granting summary judgment to the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) on the issue...more

9th Circuit Agrees With BLM: Incidental Take Statements Are Reserved For Fish and Wildlife

In Center for Biological Diversity, et al., v. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when its...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

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

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

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

New Conservation Restrictions for the Northern Long-Eared Bat Will Have Limited Impact on Development in Massachusetts

A new Endangered Species Act rule protecting the northern long-eared bat will likely have only limited impact on development and land use activities in Massachusetts due to fairly specific restrictions imposed by the final...more

Developers Dodge Bullet with Northern Long-Eared Bat

Developers have to deal with a number of environmental issues. These include stormwater management and potential impacts to wetlands, historic resources, and threatened and endangered species. The northern long-eared bat is...more

USFWS Issues Broader 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bats: What it Means for Energy Developers

On January 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released its Final 4(d) Rule for the Northern Long-Eared Bat (Final Rule). The Final Rule greatly expands upon the scope of the interim 4(d) rule that the Service...more

Court Limits Migratory Bird Treaty Act Applicability to Incidental Take

On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in United States v. CITGO that a “taking” subject to prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not include the...more

Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the US District Court for the Northern District of California remanded a US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2013 final rule that had extended the maximum duration of eagle take programmatic permits under...more

30-year Eagle Take Permit Term Remanded on Procedural Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") had inappropriately relied on a categorical exclusion under the National...more

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle...more

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question: “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all)...more

Court Invalidates 30-Year Permit Provisions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

As we discussed in a post from May 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) in 2014 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS”) 2013 revisions to its eagle permit rule, alleging violations of...more

Nine Western States Throw Their Support Behind Case Challenging Reach of the Endangered Species Act

On May 26, nine western states filed an amicus brief in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO) v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service urging the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to limit the reach of...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

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

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

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