By John M. Simpson.
On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in a closely watched Endangered Species Act (ESA) case involving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) designation of “critical habitat” for an endangered species known as the “dusky gopher frog” (Rana sevosa). Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 586 U.S. ___, No. 17-71 (Nov. 27, 2018). The Court reversed the Fifth Circuit’s decision which had upheld the FWS designation. Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court Decides Dusky Gopher Frog Case
by John M. Simpson
Recent news reports have detailed an experience related by Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York in which an unspecified member of his family reportedly retrieved a bald eagle feather during a canoe trip on Lake Saranac. The reports have generated discussion as to the legal issues surrounding the possession of a bald eagle feather. Continue reading Legal Eagles?
by John M. Simpson
On August 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted a petition setting aside an Incidental Take Statement (ITS) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) which had been issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in connection with the approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run through parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Sierra Club, et al., v. U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, Nos. 18-1082 & 18-1083 (4th Cir. Aug. 6, 2018). Continue reading Fourth Circuit Vacates Incidental Take Statement for Gas Pipeline
On July 30, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a notice in the Federal Register withdrawing the agency’s Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP) issued in December 2016. The policy withdrawal is effective immediately. Continue reading Fish and Wildlife Service Withdraws ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy
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
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
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