U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Trump Administration Attempts to Eviscerate the Endangered Species Act

Rather Than “Improve” ESA, Newly-Adopted Regulations Dramatically Erode Its Historic Protections

The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, has for most of its history been the most controversial and politically-charged of all the foundational environmental laws adopted by Congress in the 1970’s.  But despite its contentious history, opponents of the ESA have been unsuccessful in their efforts to weaken the law, either through significant Congressional amendments …

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Endangered Deference

The Supreme Court’s recent, misguided, Weyerhaeuser decision displays the Court majority’s hostility to agency expertise

Cross-posted from The Regulatory Review In Weyerhaeuser v. US Fish and Wildlife Service, a unanimous Supreme Court, with Justice Gorsuch not participating, indicated that it is not inclined to defer to agency expertise. Judicial power dominates this Court’s approach to administrative law, not just in the context of Chevron deference, and not just within the …

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When is unoccupied habitat “critical”?

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the critical habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog

Controversy and litigation have been pervasive since adoption of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, but the Supreme Court has been a relatively minor player in the law’s development. By my count, the Court so far has only addressed the substantive merits of an ESA claim three times (in TVA v Hill, 437 US 153 …

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200 Days and Counting: Public Lands

The potential impact of a Trump Administration on our federal public lands.

The federal government owns almost one-third of the land in the United States, primarily concentrated in the Western states. In addition, the federal government is the primary manager of the oceans off the coast of the United States (with the exception of oceans within three miles of the coastline, which are primarily under state authority). …

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Ninth Circuit upholds gray wolf rider

  As expected, the Ninth Circuit has now upheld the appropriations rider that directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to reissue its rule removing the gray wolf in Montana and Idaho from the list of endangered and threatened species. (Hat tip: Endangered Species Law and Policy blog.) The panel (all drawn from the Ninth Circuit’s …

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Guest Blogger Justin Pidot: The Gray Wolf Delisting Revisited

Last week, Holly  posted  an excellent discussion of the latest wranglings in the Fish & Wildlife Service’s ongoing effort to delist the gray wolf in the mountain west.  I share her discomfort with Congress’s decision to reinstate the delisting decision through an appropriations rider.  But stepping back from the arcane separation of powers questions dominant …

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A big news week for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

This has been a significant news week for California’s delta. On Wednesday, California’s Natural Resources Agency endorsed a plan for a water tunnel system to bypass the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, coupled with a habitat restoration plan for the Delta.  Bettina Boxall’s story in today’s Los Angeles Times has the details.   Many environmental groups …

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Endangered listing for Delta smelt warranted but precluded

Finally completing work on a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that reclassifying the Delta smelt from threatened to endangered is “warranted but precluded.” That means the population decline is dramatic enough to justify the conclusion that the smelt is in fact endangered, …

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Climate adaptation developments

With hopes for rapid global or domestic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions fading, the importance of adaptation becomes ever more apparent. Those responsible for protecting public health, maintaining infrastructure, and managing water and wildlife understand that they are facing enormous challenges. Policymakers, resource managers, stakeholders, and the scientific community are all beginning to respond. Here …

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Wolf woes

Wolf conservation has long been among both the most controversial and the most  creative aspects of implementation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. There’s been a flurry of wolf news over the past three months. It emphasizes conflict, some of that over attempts at creative ESA implementation. In the southwest the Mexican wolf is suffering …

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