Center for Biological Diversity v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

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A District Court in Arizona has ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service improperly used a heightened standard of review in determining whether an agency action is “likely” to jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened or endangered species during a Section 7 Consultation. The court found that the agency, rather than applying its established standard of “more likely than not,” improperly applied a heightened standard of “very probable.” The court remanded the issue to the agency, requiring that it redo its Biological Opinion using a proper “more likely than not” standard. [To accompany Federal Case Law Update "FWS Applied Unlawful Heightened Standard of Review to Section 7 Endangered Species Act Consultation for Jaguars’ Critical Habitat" from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 18.]