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Defenders of Wildlife v. Endangered Species Scientific Auth.

Citation: 14 ELR 20188
No. No. 83-1019, 725 F.2d 726/20 ERC 1833/(D.C. Cir., 01/10/1984)

The court rules that a 1982 amendment of § 8A of the Endangered Species Act completely eliminated the population and kill level requirements for "no detriment" findings allowing export of bobcats under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The court rules that the language and legislative history of the amendment indicate that Congress intended to completely overrule the court's earlier decision, 11 ELR 20306, requiring consideration of the total bobcat population and the number to be killed in a particular season in the finding that the export of bobcats from 35 states and the Navajo Nation would pose no detriment to the survival of the species. Although the statute expressly bars only use of population levels, the court opinion itself acknowledged that population size and kill levels were interrelated. For the court to require kill data alone would be meaningless. Further, Congress replaced the court's population size and kill level standard with a completely new standard, the "best available biological information" test. The legislative history as a whole shows a clear rejection of the population and kill level methodology, not a selective overruling of it. The court affirms the lower court's dissolution of its injunction enforcing the population and kill level test and holds that the entire basis for its jurisdiction has been removed, declining appellant's request for court oversight of one year of appellees' implementation of the "no detriment" process.

Counsel for Appellant
David Medine
George Washington U. National Law Center
2000 L St. NW, Suite 307, Washington DC 20036
(202) 676-4879

Brice M. Clagett, Stephen D. Barnes, Ellen Bass
Covington & Burling
P.O. Box 7566, Washington DC 20044
(202) 662-6000

Counsel for Appellees
Albert M. Ferlo Jr., Dianne H. Kelly, Dirk D. Snel
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2774

William A. Hutchins, Paul A. Lenzini
Chapman, Duff & Paul
International Sq., 1825 I St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 293-8600

Before: WILKEY and BORK, Circuit Judges, and LUMBARD,* Senior Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit