Endangered Species

Supreme Court: Property Rights Reign over Dusky Gopher Frog

The U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) that resulted in a significant victory for private property rights. Using common sense, the Supreme Court interpreted the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to allow critical habitat designations only in areas that the USFWS determines are actually habitat for […]

Trump Lifts Habitat Protections for Sage Grouse

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released proposals that would revise conservation efforts for the sage grouse made under the Obama administration. The changes are being made to enhance cooperation with Western states, and ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining, and other activities. In 2017, the Trump […]

Zinke Orders Review Of Obama-Era Greater Sage Grouse Protections

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to review federal conservation efforts of the greater sage grouse Wednesday. Zinke wanted the federal government to be “a good neighbor” and certify that officials in 11 Western states were fully consulted about the conservation program, according to the Associated Press. The […]

Battle of the Dusky Gopher Frog

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”).  This case could have far-reaching implications curbing federally-designated critical habitat designations by the USFWS. At the heart of this case is the USFWS’ 2012 decision to designate 1,500 acres of private land in Louisiana owned by Markle […]

Northern California Court Re-Instates Protections For Sage Grouse

A U.S. District Court in Northern California reinstated protections for the bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada. Environmental groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project had filed a motion against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for withdrawing the bi-state distinct population of greater sage groups as a […]

Feds Solicit Comment on Endangered Species Act Reform

On July 25, 2018, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the “Services”) published three proposed rules to reform the Endangered Species Act. This opens a 60-day public comment period ending September 24, 2018.  The proposals respond in part to stakeholder comments submitted […]

Good News For Keystone XL: Positive U.S. Environmental Review

The U.S. State Department has given preliminary environmental approval to a proposed alternative route through Nebraska for the Keystone XL pipeline, a route that is currently being challenged by landowners and other project opponents in the Nebraska Supreme Court. The State Department, which has already issued a cross-border permit for TransCanada Corp.’s project found that […]

No Mitigation? No Problem. BLM Issues Policy Statement on Compensatory Mitigation Changes

As of July 24, the BLM has taken an updated position on the issue of compensatory mitigation. The BLM states in a new policy: “Except where the law specifically requires, the BLM must not require compensatory mitigation from public land users.” The BLM will still, in limited circumstances, consider voluntary proposals for compensatory mitigation, but […]

Breaking News: Dramatic Endangered Species Act Mitigation Reform?

Rumors swirling around Washington D.C. indicate that the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) may release a statement rescinding the fairly recently published USFWS Service-Wide Mitigation policy and Endangered Species Act-Compensatory Mitigation Policy, without replacing either policy.  Further, the agency may also take the position that, in the absence of further congressional directive, the DOI is […]

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