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Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Abstention on ESA Case

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that a California district court erred in abstaining from a suit brought by Friends of Oceano Dunes against California state officials on various grounds. The suit alleges that the California Coastal Commission’s permitting of dust control measures violate the Endangered Species Act by placing the western snowy plower, a protected bird under the Act, in danger.

Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on ESA and MMPA Applications

The Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is accepting comments on a number of permit applications it has received under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The applications include requests for permits to import samples of wild and captive ground pangolin to the University of Washington, export one loggerhead sea turtle to Sea Life London Aquarium, captive breed penguins and lemurs in a zoo in Minnesota, to import sport-hunted trophies of a South African antelope, and to import biological samples from wild-caught polar bears to Stanford University Medical Center. The agency is accepting comments on these applications until December 20, 2019.

FWS Announces Five Year Status Reviews of Albatross and Otter

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will begin five year status reviews of the short-tailed albatross and the Southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter. The agency is requesting submission of “any new information” on these species since the last time such a review was completed. In order to ensure information is considered in the review, the agency must receive any submissions by January 21, 2020.

Bill Proposes to Automatically Delist Species from Endangered Species Act Protections

The Endangered Species Accountability Reform Act would automatically delist species protected under the Endangered Species Act from those protections 5 years and 1 month after the species is originally listed for protections.

FWS Proposes to Delist Nashville Crayfish

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the Nashville crayfish from the list of federally protected endangered and threatened species. The agency is accepting comments on this proposal until January 27, 2020.

FWS Proposes to Designate Critical Habitat for Suwannee Moccasinshell

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to designate critical habitat for the Suwannee moccasinshell, a freshwater mussel species, in Florida and Georgia. The comment period is open until January 27, 2020.

NMFS Declines to Designate Critical Habitat for Giant Manta Ray

The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced that it has determined it will not designate critical habitat for the conservation of the giant manta ray. It reached this decision based on the finding that there are not any “identifiable physical or biological features” under U.S. jurisdiction that are key to the conservation of the species.

Florida Proposes to Protect Federally-Delisted Endangered Species

Florida House Bill 1067 would direct the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to continue to protect species even if they are delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act. The bill also recognizes that climate change is a threat to endangered species.

PETA Wins Endangered Species Act Case Against Tri-State Zoo

A federal judge in Maryland has ruled that the Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland violated the Endangered Species Act with regards to lions, tigers, and lemurs under its care. The lawsuit, brought by PETA in 2017, alleged that the roadside zoo violated the Act by failing to provide adequately sanitary living environments, nutritional diets, veterinary care, and shelter and enrichment to the animals. The surviving animals at issue will be transferred to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, and the Defendants have been enjoined from possessing any threatened or endangered species.

Lawsuit Challenges Turtle Habitat Designations

A lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, and Turtle Island Restoration Network accuses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service of violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to designate critical habitat for the green sea turtle.