FWS' Decision to End Southern Sea Otter Translocation Program Upheld
A district court upheld FWS' decision to terminate the southern sea otter translocation program off the coast of California. Under the program, FWS would relocate southern sea otters found in waters south of Santa Barbara and north of the Mexico border--the "management zone"--to California's Nicolas Island. But the program was highly unsuccessful and FWS formally terminated the program in 2012. Commercial fishing groups filed suit, but they lacked standing so the case was dismissed. And even if they had standing, FWS had the discretion to end the program.
FWS Announces ESA Listing of Greater-Sage Grouse Not Warranted
FWS announced a 12-month finding on petitions to list the greater sage-grouse, both rangewide and the Columbia Basin population, as an endangered or threatened species under the ESA; the agency found that the Columbia Basin population does not qualify as a distinct population segment and that listing the greater sage-grouse is not warranted at this time.
A district court dismissed an environmental group's EPCRA lawsuit against BP for failing to report the release of hazardous substances following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, holding no such duty existed. EPCRA derives its reporting requirements from CERCLA, and CERCLA plainly excludes from reporting both petroleum itself and any constituent parts of released petroleum. To hold otherwise would render the petroleum exclusion meaningless.
The October 2015 issue of ELR's News & Analaysis presents the winning entries from the 2014-2015 Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition, featuring articles on pesticides, water quality, and the public trust doctrine; agency deference and environmental regulation; and CAA jurisdiction in off-reservation tribal lands. The issue also looks at CEQ’s draft guidance on NEPA climate analyses and the economic valuation of groundwater in regulatory takings cases. The transcript to a recent ELI seminar on BLM's hydraulic fracturing rule is included as well.