The Ninth Circuit vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) designation of certain areas in Southern Arizona as critical habitat for endangered jaguars. The litigation was initially brought by the Center for Biodiversity (CBD) after FWS found that a proposed mining project from Rosemont Copper Company would not adversely impact the jaguar’s critical habitat. Rosemont intervened and filed crossclaims against the FWS, arguing that certain of its jaguar critical-habitat designations were arbitrary and capricious. The Ninth Circuit agreed with Rosemont and vacated habitats designated as both occupied and unoccupied by the FWS. The court did not reach the question of whether FWS erred in concluding that the mine would not adversely impact the critical habitat designations. The habitat designations are thus remanded to FWS for reconsideration.
[To accompany Federal Court Case Law Update "Ninth Circuit Rejects FWS Jaguar Critical Habitat Designation” from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 190]