Fisheries Service Designates Critical Habitat for False Killer Whale Population

On July 24, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)  published a final rule in the Federal Register designating critical habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale distinct population segment.   The rule becomes effective on August 23, 2018. Continue reading “Fisheries Service Designates Critical Habitat for False Killer Whale Population”

Wildlife Agencies Announce Proposed Endangered Species Act Regulations

by John M. Simpson

On July 19, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced three proposed rulemakings that would revise the regulations pursuant to which the Services have implemented the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These initiatives were the result of public comments solicited by the Services in response to Executive Order 13777, 82 Fed. Reg. 31576 (July 7, 2017), which sought comments on how federal agencies could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal regulations and the regulatory process.   Continue reading “Wildlife Agencies Announce Proposed Endangered Species Act Regulations”

9th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment of No Standing in Endangered Species Act Case

by  John M. Simpson

On June 28, 2018 a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment determining that certain environmental organizations had no Article III standing to pursue claims under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) as to financing authorizations by the Export-Import Bank of the United States with respect to two liquid natural gas projects in Queensland, Australia near the Great Barrier Reef.  Center for Biological Diversity v. Export-Import Bank of the United States, ___ F.3d ___, No. 16-15946 (9th Cir. June 28, 2018).  The court found that plaintiffs failed to satisfy the redressability requirement under the “relaxed standard” for standing in “procedural rights” cases.  Slip op. at 14.  Continue reading “9th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment of No Standing in Endangered Species Act Case”

Grizzly Bear “Taking” Conviction Reversed by 9th Circuit

By John M. Simpson

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the conviction of a Montana man who had been convicted of a criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for shooting and killing a grizzly bear that was harassing the horses in a pasture behind the defendant’s rural home.  United States v. Charette, ___ F.3d ___, No. 17-30059 (9th Cir. June 26, 2018).  The government had charged the defendant with one count of “taking” a threatened species in violation of the ESA.  The defendant was convicted in a bench trial before a magistrate judge, and the conviction was affirmed by the district court. Continue reading “Grizzly Bear “Taking” Conviction Reversed by 9th Circuit”

Trump Administration Announces Plan to Consolidate Wildlife Agencies

The Trump Administration recently announced a proposal to merge the operations of the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) into the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Historically, NMFS has been charged with administration of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), focusing primarily upon marine mammals, while FWS has administered the Endangered Species Act (ESA) primarily with respect to species located upon land or inland fisheries. The reorganization initiative is part of a larger plan entitled Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendation, containing proposals affecting several federal agencies. Continue reading “Trump Administration Announces Plan to Consolidate Wildlife Agencies”

Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Guidance on Incidental Take Permits

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), the agency within the Department of Interior with primary responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), issued new guidance on April 26, 2018, addressing the triggering circumstances for an incidental take permit (ITP) under Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The guidance was issued in a Memorandum (Mem.) from the Principal Deputy Director to Regional Directors. Continue reading “Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Guidance on Incidental Take Permits”