Fish and Wildlife Service

News & Analysis as of

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

The Fat Lady Who Hasn’t Sung, Oil Field Technology, and a Lizard

Today is a grab-bag of topics, a pastiche if your college tuition was higher than mine. When Will the Fat Lady Sing? El Paso Marketing, LP v. Wolf Hollow I, L.P., involving a gas plant Supply Agreement,...more

Ninth Circuit Lifts the Veil: Explains How to Comply With Endangered Species Act 60-Day Notice Requirement

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposes certain procedural hurdles on any would-be plaintiff commencing a citizen suit to compel compliance with the ESA. One of the more substantive requirements is the 60-day notice...more

Court Finds Endangered Species Act Cannot Regulate Species on Private Lands Within a Single State

In a win for property owners and project proponents, a Utah federal district court has ruled that the United States Constitution does not authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to regulate impacts to the Utah...more

Reading the Tea Leaves: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lists, Designates Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse – Is the Greater...

On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed as “threatened” and designated over 1.4 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus), the smaller cousin of the...more

High Stakes Out on the Range: Gunnison Sage-Grouse Listed as an Endangered Species

In the first salvo of a larger environmental-industry showdown impacting Western shale development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday (Nov. 12, 2014) that the Gunnison Sage Grouse would be granted...more

Arizona District Court Finds Sonoran Desert Bald Eagles Are Not a Distinct Population Segment

On November 4, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion in Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Jewell,2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157436(D. Ariz.Nov. 4, 2014) finding that the Fish and Wildlife...more

Utah Court Bucks the Trend: Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Intrastate Species on Private Land

Contrary to every federal court of appeal decision that has addressed the issue, a federal court in Utah has held that the broad authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to regulate "take" of threatened...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Re-Opens Comment Period for Cuckoo Critical Habitat

As we reported in October, after significant pressure from Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its intent to re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of...more

Utah Federal Judge: ESA Rule Is Unconstitutional

In a ruling that, if upheld and followed, would significantly limit the reach of federal environmental regulation, a Utah federal judge determined that regulation of a purely intrastate species listed as threatened under the...more

Do Takes of the Utah Prairie Dog Affect Interstate Commerce? Only When McDonalds Starts Serving Prairie Burgers

Earlier this week, in a suit brought by the beautifully named People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, Judge Dee Benson ruled that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service could not regulate takes of the Utah...more

Court Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Take of Intrastate Species that Has No Substantial Effect on Commerce

On November 4th, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah invalidated the special rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulating take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a species that only...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List African Lions as Threatened

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced that it is proposing to list the African lion (Pantera leo leo) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed listing is the result of a...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists One Midwestern Butterfly as Threatened, Another as Endangered

On October 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule listing the Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae) as a threatened species and the Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek) as an endangered...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Re-Opens Comment Period for Cuckoo Under Pressure from Congress

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that it will re-open the public comment period on its proposal to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the western population of yellow-billed...more

Two petitions filed seeking Supreme Court review of Ninth Circuit decision in Delta smelt case

Recently, two separate petitions were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, a case involving a challenge to the biological...more

ESA Law Update: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List West Coast Population of Fisher as Threatened Under Endangered...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced yesterday its proposal to list the West Coast population of the fisher (Pekania pennanti) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The scientific...more

Service Proposes to List Fisher DPS As Threatened

On October 6, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a news release announcing its proposal to list the West Coast Distinct Population Segment (West Coast DPS) of fisher (Pekanian pennanti) as threatened under...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List 23 Mariana Island Species as Threatened or Endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a proposed rule to list 21 species as endangered and 2 species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of the 21 species the Service proposes to list as...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo as Threatened

Last Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published its final rule listing the western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The species is an...more

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