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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Proposed Critical Habitat Rule for Zuni Bluehead Sucker

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reopened the public comment period on its proposed rule designating critical habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), a fish...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

Federal Court Strikes Down Habitat Conservation Plan and Biological Opinion for Logging Project in Northern California

On April 3, 2015, a federal district court in California put the brakes on a proposed logging project, invalidating a habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and...more

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service determined...more

Endangered Species Rule Roundup: April 6-7, 2015

After a relatively quiet start to the year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) have issued findings and rules regarding the proposed listings of four separate species under the...more

When Uncertainty Surrounds California Solar Project, Court Defers to Agency Not Tortoise

Project opponents have been invoking the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with increasing regularity in an attempt to block the construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. ...more

Will U.S. Export-Import Bank Financing of Australian LNG Projects be Cast Adrift on the “High Seas” by the Endangered Species Act?

We have previously reported on cases in which opponents to energy projects continue to expand their challenges to include not just direct sponsors of the projects, but their financial supporters as well. In particular, we...more

USFWS Publishes Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing Decision, Opts for Interim 4(d) Rule

In a long-anticipated move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”)has published a final listing decision and interim rule on the northern long-eared bat. The Service listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened...more

“21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act” Introduced in House

On March 26, 2015, House of Representatives Republican Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill (H.R. 1667) to amend Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to require the Secretary of Interior to “make publicly...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Accepts Two Petitions to List the Porbeagle Shark

On March 27, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accepted two petitions asking NMFS to list the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act either throughout the...more

Agencies Must Aim for Recovery of the Species When Designating Critical Habitat

In a decision issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) interpretation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), finding that its interpretation of the critical habitat...more

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Action Alleging San Francisco Violated the Endangered Species Act

In a three-page memorandum decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed Wild Equity and other groups’ appeal from a lower court decision, dismissing as moot a lawsuit alleging that the City and...more

Court Upholds Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Windfarm

On March 17, 2015, Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) issuance of an incidental take permit...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues a 90-Day Finding and a Proposed Rule

On March 3, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued two Federal Register notices – a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as either threatened or endangered, and...more

Outdated requirement results in continued listing of species determined to be recovered

The Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), a small fish with a range limited to northeast California and south-central Oregon, was listed as endangered in 1985.  A recovery plan for the species was adopted by the Service in 1992,...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Considering Revision to Critical Habitat Designation for Southern Resident Killer Whales

On February 24, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced a 12-month finding on the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) petition to revise the critical habitat designation for the Southern Resident...more

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas...

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the...more

District Court Rejects Challenge to Wind Farm Permitting, Finds No Violation of ESA or Eagle Protection Act

This month a federal court in Maine rejected a challenge to a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for the Oakfield wind power project. The court determined that the Army Corps did not violate the...more

Court Denies Motion to Dismiss a Challenge to Natural Gas Projects in the Great Barrier Reef

On Friday, February 20, a federal district court denied (pdf) a motion to dismiss, thereby breathing life into an Endangered Species Act (ESA) challenge brought against the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Bank) for...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus: California lawmakers introduce sweeping new measures to increase renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use - San Jose Mercury News - Feb 10: Last Tuesday, California lawmakers unveiled a...more

Report by House Natural Resources Committee Highlights Shortcomings in Use of Peer Review Science by U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

On December 15, 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee majority staff published a report titled “Under the Microscope: An examination of the questionable science and lack of independent peer review in Endangered Species...more

The Oregon chub is the first fish species ever to be declared recovered and removed from threatened species listing

On February 17, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final decision to remove the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Federal Endangered...more

114th Congress Introduces Bill to Amend Endangered Species Act of 1973

On January 28, 2015, Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) introduced House Bill H.R. 585, which seeks to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) to establish a new procedure for approval of certain stipulated consent decrees...more

Federal Agencies Revise Killer Whale Listing to Include Whales Held in Captivity

On February 10, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (“Services”) issued a final rule (pdf) to include captive killer whales in the Southern Resident killer whale...more

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah attracted national attention with its November decision in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in which it ruled...more

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