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Alabama-Tombigbee Rivers Coalition v. Kempthorne

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20040
Nos. No. 05-17164, (11th Cir., 02/08/2007)

The court upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule listing the Alabama sturgeon as endangered. The court rejected claims that the FWS failed to rely on the best scientific data available in its listing decision. Nor did the FWS violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by listing the species and designating critical habitat in two separate rules. The ESA does not provide a procedural right to have the critical habitat proposal issued at the same time as the listing proposal, or to have the habitat proposed before time runs out for commenting about the listing. Further, to throw out a congressionally mandated listing decision because of the FWS' failure to comply with time limits for making a habitat decision would defeat, not further, congressional intent. Lastly, Congress did not exceed the power granted to it under the Commerce Clause by authorizing protection of the Alabama sturgeon, an intrastate, noncommercial species.

[A related decision can be found at 24 ELR 21333.]