Adverse decision in green sturgeon critical habitat challenge

Today a Ninth Circuit three-judge panel issued a remarkable legal opinion.  The bottom line: Decisions to include areas as part of critical habitat for endangered or threatened species under the ESA are judicially reviewable, while decisions not to exclude areas from critical habitat are not judicially reviewable.  It’s one heck of a legal opinion.

Logic dictates that decisions to include or exclude areas from critical habitat are flip sides of the same coin. When deciding which area to include, one necessarily decides which areas not to include, i.e., which areas to exclude.  It comes down to a question of what to leave in and what to leave out.  But the Ninth Circuit panel didn’t see it that way when it opined that government decisions “not to exclude” areas from critical habitat designation for the green sturgeon species could not be judicially reviewed, on the ground that there was “no law to apply.”

The decision is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law.  But this case is of more than academic interest to lawyers.  Almost the entire West Coast of the United States has been designated by the government as critical habitat for the green sturgeon, placing substantial roadblocks to economic development and growth in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California.  Quality of life issues for millions of Americans are at stake.

We are reviewing our legal options.

President’s weekly report — June 26, 2015

The physical invasion of the raisin snatchers — a property rights victory at the Supreme Court  In a week marked by several major Supreme Court decisions that were quite disappointing to advocates of limited government and the rule of law, there was one … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — June 5, 2015

 Lawsuit abuse — Filing without injury PLF filed this letter brief asking the California Supreme Court to review of Animal Legal Defense Fund v. LT Napa Partners—which PLF asked the Supreme Court to overturn an Unfair Competition Law (UCL) case that threatens … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — May 29, 2015

POTUS’s WOTUS headed for SCOTUS? The President’s EPA minions issued the long-dreaded Waters of the United States rule this week, guaranteeing another clash before the Supreme Court of the United States. For more, and a link to our comments on the … Continue reading

PLF sues over jaguar critical habitat designation in New Mexico

The only jaguars that you are likely to find today in New Mexico are at this dealership in Albuquerque. But that didn’t stop the federal government from designating tens of thousands of acres in Hidalgo County, in the southwestern corner of the state, … Continue reading

Green sturgeon critical habitat challenge: oral argument this week

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 9 a.m., I’ll be arguing at the 9th Circuit in support of our challenge under the Endangered Species Act to the critical habitat designation for a marine species known as the green sturgeon.  The critical … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — August 22, 2014

Property Rights — Extortion-by-the-Bay We had a hearing today in Levin v. San Francisco on our challenge to San Francisco’s new scheme to extract huge chunks of cash from rent-controlled landlords who wish to go out of the landlord business.  For … Continue reading

Its always endangered species day

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared today “Endangered Species Day.” The irony of dedicating one day on the calendar to species conservation is that every day is endangered species day if you operate an irrigation project; own a farm, … Continue reading

FWS dismisses state and local protections of gopher as too flexible

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed four subspecies of Mazama pocket gopher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As PLF explained in a comment letter last year, this listing is inappropriate and unnecessary because it doesn’t recognize the … Continue reading

Ninth circuit should re-examine flawed ESA precedent in re-hearing drakes bay appeal

This morning PLF, joined by the California Cattlemen’s Association and the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area, filed an amicus brief in support of Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s petition for rehearing en banc of the Court’s September decision in … Continue reading