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

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

Changing the ESA Listing Petition Process? Not as Much as You Might Think.

On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, “Service”) announced revisions to their proposed modifications to the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) petition...more

Environmental Notes - April 2016

EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance recently proposed changes to its National Program Manager (NMP) Guidance that, in part, would revise EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for federal fiscal...more

Congressional Hearings to be Held on New Critical Habitat Rules and Delisting under the Endangered Species Act

This week, two congressional committees are holding three separate hearings on issues related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On April 19, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing entitled...more

Court Rejects ESA Challenge to County’s Local Land Use Planning

On April 8, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that Collier County’s (County) land use planning regulations were complimentary, not contrary to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ordered to Reconsider Delisting of N. American Wolverine

The courts continue to be busy issuing significant Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulings. In the latest one, issued in early wolverineApril, the U.S. District Court for Montana, Missoula Division, in Defenders of Wildlife v....more

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues 12-Month Findings on Four Species

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 12-month findings on petitions to list the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Updates Native American Tribe Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an updated Native American policy on January 27, 2016, which provides a framework for government-to-government relationships to further the federal government’s trust...more

Widely Divergent Views of Section 7 Consultation Described in PNAS Articles

In December 2015, Defenders of Wildlife employees published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they compiled and conducted basic statistical analyses of data regarding section 7...more

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Polar Bear Habitat Designation, ESA Implications for the West

In a decision that could result in significant new restrictions on development activities in the Arctic as well as set important Endangered Species Act (ESA) precedent in the Western United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals...more

FWS Proposes Revisions to Development Mitigation Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published draft revisions on March 8, 2016 to its 1981 Mitigation Policy for mitigating the impacts of development projects to natural resources. See Proposed Revisions to the U.S....more

Is Their Fate Sealed? Alaska District Court Vacates Regulation Listing Arctic Ringed Seal Populations as Threatened and...

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National...more

New ESA Regulations Expand Impact of "Critical Habitat" Designations

Two new rules and one new policy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) relating to the process of designating and protecting "critical habitat" under the Endangered...more

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Decision Upholds Importance of Conservation Agreements

On March 1, the oil and gas industry won a significant victory when the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) decision that conservation agreements supported by the industry...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Revisions to Mitigation Policy

On March 8, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced proposed revisions to its Mitigation Policy that has guided Service recommendations on mitigating the adverse impacts of development on fish, wildlife,...more

Federal Court Refuses To Reinstate Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing: What Now, And What’s Next?

Last fall a federal court in the Western District of Texas upheld a challenge to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as a threatened species under the federal...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

Listing Litigation: Courts Rule on Two Permian Basin Species

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas rejected the Service’s request to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus...more

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) designation of critical habitat in Alaska for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). Alaska Oil and Gas...more

The Ninth Circuit Approves the FWS Polar Bear Critical Habitat Designation

On Monday, the 9th Circuit reversed a district court decision that rejected the critical habitat designated by the Fish and Wildlife Service for protection of the polar bear, which was listed as threatened in 2008. The case...more

NMFS Designates Critical Habitat for Two Salmonid Populations in Pacific Northwest

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule on February 24, 2016 designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for two threatened species—lower Columbia River coho salmon...more

Center for Biological Diversity Files 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Final 4(d) Rule for...

As we discussed in a previous post, on January 14, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final 4(d) rule under the Endangered Species Act for the northern long-eared bat. As we noted, although the...more

Feds Finalize Prohibitions Against Threatened Bat Species – Disputes Continue

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a final rule under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), taking effect February 16, 2016 and imposing measures intended to protect the northern long-eared bat (NLE...more

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