Endangered Species

News & Analysis as of

DC Development Activities May Be Impacted By Petition to FWS

On July 28, 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The petition, if granted, could have ramifications for development and other activities in the District of...more

Ready for Comment: FWS Proposal Encourages Voluntary Conservation Measures for At-Risk Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently proposed a new policy – the Policy Regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions – that would give landowners credit for undertaking voluntary conservation measures for...more

New Decision in Mega ESA Case Dismisses Most Consultation Claims with Prejudice, Although Certain Claims Survive Pending Further...

In a wide-ranging decision issued on August 13, 2014, in Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA (N.D. Cal.) (often referred to as the "Mega ESA" case), Magistrate Judge Spero has dismissed most of the claims by the Plaintiffs...more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Withdraws Proposal to List North American Wolverine as Threatened

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it is withdrawing its proposal to list the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision to...more

In Flux Eagle Regulations Continue to Impact Industries

Austin associate Brooke Wahlberg’s article “The Curious Problem of Eagles” is featured as one of the lead articles in the Spring 2014 volume of the Texas Environmental Law Journal. The article examines the Bald and Golden...more

10th Circuit Limits ESA Consultation Obligations To Boundaries Of The Agency Action

This past week, the 10th Circuit held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no obligation to engage in consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where the potential effects on...more

EPA Not Required to Consult on Air Quality Regulation Regarding Four Corners Power Plant

On July 23, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential...more

Proposed Critical Habitat Rules Change Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed two important new rules implementing the critical habitat provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 79 Fed.Reg. 27060 (May 12,...more

ESA Section 9 Case Dismissed Because of Allegations re Take

Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought under section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because, instead of attacking a specific project or...more

Fifth Circuit Limits the Reach of ESA "Take Liability" for State Regulatory Agencies Based on "Proximate Causation" Principles

The Fifth Circuit's decision provides important legal and factual guidance for whether an action will cause a "take" under the ESA. While the decision only affects states covered by the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana and...more

Supreme Court’s CEQA Docket Expands With Grant of Review in Newhall Ranch Case

On July 9, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the petition for review filed by Plaintiff/Respondent Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Department of Fish and Game...more

Proximate Cause and Foreseeability Are Required Elements of Endangered Species Act Liability: Fifth Circuit Reverses Injunction...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an injunction that would have prohibited the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) from issuing new water withdrawal permits affecting an estuary where...more

D.C. District Court Holds Pre-Violation Notice Ineffective

On June 23, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed the strict application of the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) pre-litigation notice requirements, dismissing a lawsuit alleging that the...more

Conservation Groups Continue to File ESA Lawsuits

Despite landmark settlements requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to review the status of hundreds of species currently listed as candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), conservation groups...more

State Governors Urge the Federal Government to Defer to State Conservation Efforts When Deciding Whether to List a Species Under...

Last week, the bipartisan Western Governors' Association (WGA) adopted a resolution urging the federal government to defer to state conservation efforts and to prioritize funding to avoid new listings under the federal...more

Petition to Delist California Gnatcatcher Filed

Citing new genetic evidence that the coastal California gnatcatcher is not a distinct subspecies as previously claimed, but is part of a single, healthy and abundant species that ranges from Southern California to the...more

Amici Curiae Support En Banc Review Of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On May 12, 2014, Appellees Kern County Water Agency, Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, State Water Contractors, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California filed a petition for rehearing en banc, seeking further...more

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Ordered To Complete Recovery Plan For Canada Lynx

Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Montana ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to develop a timeline for completion of recovery planning for the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). ...more

North Carolina District Court Enjoins Coyote Hunting In Five North Carolina Counties

On May 7, 2014, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina enjoined coyote hunting in five North Carolina counties that provide a recovery area for the red wolf (Canis rufus), a species listed as...more

ESA Law Alert: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS Propose Significant Changes to Critical Habitat Regulations

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the “Services”) jointly issued three interrelated proposals concerning the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered...more

Proposed Endangered Species Act Regulations Would Change Critical Habitat Rules

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service jointly published two proposed regulations and a draft policy concerning critical habitat designations under the Endangered Species...more

Proposed Critical Habitat Rules Expand Reach Of Critical Habitat Protections Under The Endangered Species Act

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed two important new rules (50 CFR Part 402 and 50 CFR Part 424) implementing the critical habitat provisions of the...more

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Declines To Reclassify California Plant

On May 2, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 12-month finding concluding that, based on the best available scientific and commercial information, the endangered Lane Mountain milk-vetch (Astragalus...more

Cattle Battle on Federal Land Likely Avoided

An anticipated showdown between a Nevada cattle rancher and the federal government will likely pass without the violence and fanfare many anti-government groups had been hoping. The background of this fight stemmed from the...more

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