Ninth Circuit Rejects Reversal of Decision to List Walrus Under ESA Based on Climate Impact

The Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment to the Fish and Wildlife Service in a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the agency’s 2017 reversal of its finding that the Pacific walrus warranted listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A key issue in the decision was FWS’ failure to justify its sudden discounting of the future negative impacts of climate change on sea ice in the Arctic– upon which the walrus depends for essentially all life functions. The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic filed an amicus brief on behalf of six scientists in the case.