Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Federal Court Remands Renewable Energy Project for Additional Explanation; Delay Ensues

Last week, a federal district court in Nevada ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to adequately explain a decision to authorize a proposed wind energy project. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: High-speed rail project runs afoul of kit fox conservation requirements - Fresno Bee - Feb 2: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the California High-Speed Rail...more

High-Speed Rail Authority Under Fire for Disrupting San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat

On January 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a letter to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) that found that the Authority’s contractors are not in compliance with the Authority’s...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

ANWR News: The Fine Print of President Obama’s Executive Action to Create Over 12 Million Acres of Wilderness

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is administratively implementing President Obama’s recommendation that certain lands in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska be designated as wilderness. FWS...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

Endangered Species Act Roundup: More Rules

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published three new rules, continuing its flurry of activity from December.  January 16, 2015 – The Service issued a final rule listing the Mexican wolf (Canis...more

Legislative Water Update

Conversations Among Federal Lawmakers May Lead to New Water Legislation - A number of conversations are occurring in the U.S. House of Representatives, and between the House and the U.S. Senate (particularly Rep. David...more

Supreme Court Denies Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding limits on water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the endangered Delta...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Louisiana Denies Drilling-Related Permit in Scenic Waterway

Louisiana has denied a permit to an energy company seeking to use water from a state-designated scenic river for its drilling operations. The decision represents the first time in Louisiana’s history that a permit to draw...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

Fish & Wildlife Service Finds That Gnatcatcher Delisting May Be Warranted

Continuing the quarter century controversy over the listing of the Coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) as a threatened subspecies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has concluded that a...more

Endangered Species Act Year End Roundup: FWS Issues Findings on A Listing Petition and NMFS Issues A Correction

Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules on December 31, 2014, making December a very busy month for Endangered...more

Federal Court Holds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Violated Endangered Species Act by Delisting Gray Wolf in Nine States

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it issued a final rule delisting gray wolves in nine...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Upcoming Listing Decision on Northern Long-Eared Bat May Have Far-Reaching Impacts on Industry

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced the reopening of the comment period on the Service’s proposed rule to list the northern long-eared bat (“NLEB”). 79 Fed. Reg. 68657. ...more

Endangered Species Act Roundup – Three For the Price of One

Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow. Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that...more

Penalties for Spoliation of “Tangible Objects”

Sometimes three red groupers are a “tangible object”, but mostly they are just, well, uh, fish. In the summer of 2007, boat owner and Captain, John Yates was leading a fishing trip on his boat, the “Miss Katie”....more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate List

On December 5, 2014 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its Fiscal Year 2014 Threatened and Endangered Species Candidate list. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), when the USFWS either receives a petition...more

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Critical Habitat: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Sets December 18, 2014 Public Hearing in Sacramento

As we reported in November, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) has been planning to hold a public hearing on the proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed...more

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