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Federal Judge Grants Injunctive Relief to Protect Chinook Salmon and Steelhead

The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon entered an interim injunction, ordering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) to “provide volitional downstream fish passage and water quality measures to mitigate irreparable harm” to threatened Upper Willamette River Chinook salmon and steelhead. The court found that ACE and the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to implement several measures required by a 2008 report to protect the fish who have been driven to near-extinction by the ACE’s operation of several dams in the Pacific Northwest. The order will become final after appointment of an independent expert panel which will set specific guidelines that the ACE must follow to minimize detrimental impacts on the critical habitat for spawning of endangered species of salmon and steelhead. The case was brought by the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, WildEarthGuardians, and Native Fish Society.

Conservation Groups Prevail in Legal Challenge to Big Bear Lake Development Project

A San Bernardino County, California judge entered an order against a proposed luxury lakefront development project on the north shore of Big Bear Lake, California, overturning the county’s approval for the project in response to a legal challenge brought by Friends of Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, and Center for Biological Diversity. The proposed site serves as a habitat for successfully breeding bald eagles and federally protected plant species. The judge ruled that “substantial evidence does not support the County’s finding that the … parcel adequately mitigates the Project’s impacts” on the surrounding habitats and that the environmental impact report “fails as an information document regarding the Project’s impacts on wildfire evacuation risks.”

Mexico’s Supreme Court Halts Port Expansion, Citing “Human Right to a Healthy Environment”

The Supreme Court of Mexico set a legal precedent when it halted the expansion of the Port of Veracruz, ruling that the federal environment ministry, SEMARNAT, “violated the human right to a healthy environment” when it approved the project’s environmental impact statement in a fragmented manner, failing to appropriately consider impacts on the Veracruz Reef System, which is home to sea turtles and numerous other marine life species. The Court ordered SEMARNAT to “comprehensively examine the project…, considering all the reefs and wetlands that are in the area of influence of said project.” 

Bill Would Require Contractors to Resume Border Wall Construction

House Resolution 7450, the “Build the Wall Now Act,” would remove legal impediments preventing construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and would prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security from canceling existing contracts relating to border wall construction. The bill comes less than a month following a March 24, 2022, settlement agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the Department of Defense which prohibits military spending on border walls and requires completion of a study to assess the wall’s damage to wildlife habitats.

Environmental Groups Sue to Stop California Logging Project in Spotted Owl Habitat

The Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, and the Coast Action Group have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to stop the Mendocino Redwood Company from logging nearly one thousand acres of redwood forest in a California watershed that provides habitat for threatened northern spotted owls and fish. Plaintiffs allege that the state agency violated the California Environmental Quality Act and the Forest Practice Act by approving the logging project despite its serious negative impacts on existing wildlife habitats for imperiled species. Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.

EPA Takes Administrative Enforcement Action Against Canned and Frozen Food Company for Wastewater Violations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken administrative enforcement action against consumer-packaged goods company, Hanover Foods Corporation, to address an “appalling” number of alleged violations at the company’s Hanover, Pennsylvania wastewater treatment facility, including excessive levels of contaminants, floating solids, and “visible scum” in discharged and receiving water. In an Administrative Order on Consent, Hanover Foods has agreed to provide the EPA with a complete engineering evaluation and propose and implement a corrective action plan.

Environmental Groups Sue EPA for Alleged Violations of the Clean Air Act in Wilderness Areas

Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that the EPA has violated the Clean Air Act by failing to take legally required action to protect air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.

 

Advocacy Groups Petition Biden Administration to End the Use of Pesticides on Wildlife Refuges

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), asking the agency to ban the use of wildlife-harming agricultural pesticides like glyphosate, dicamba, and paraquat on national wildlife refuges, which are home to more than 280 species of protected plants and animals. FWS currently allows private operators to grow commercial crops that trigger the use of hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides that are toxic to wildlife, the environment, and human visitors. In 2018 alone, more than 350,000 pounds of agricultural pesticides were sprayed in the refuges.

Environmental Groups Sue for Access to Public Records About Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Environmental groups sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for failing to release public records, including documents relating to the Department’s response to President Biden’s executive order for a review of the federal oil and gas leasing program. Plaintiffs allege that the withholding of requested records violates the Freedom of Information Act and deprives the groups of the ability to advance their respective missions relating to the protection of wildlife, wildlife habitats, and overall environmental health. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Federal Agencies and Advocacy Groups Settle Border Wall Lawsuit

Advocacy groups and federal agencies reached a settlement agreement that prohibits military spending on border walls and calls for funding to restore borderlands, a study to assess the wall’s damage to wildlife habitat, and public participation in ongoing federal efforts to repair harms caused by border wall construction. The agreement settles lawsuits filed in 2019 and 2020 alleging that former President Trump overstepped his executive authority to invoke the National Emergencies Act to reallocate military funding to fund a policy goal and challenging further redirection of military funding for border wall construction.