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San Bruno Mountain Watch v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20101
Nos. No. C 00-2485 PJH, (N.D. Cal., 05/04/2007)

A district court denied an environmental group's motion for attorney fees and costs stemming from an underlying case involving an incidental take permit's (ITP's) impact on three species of butterfly. Below, the parties settled their claims. Pursuant to the consent judgment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed to reinitiate consultation on the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan and the ITP, report on the consultation process, publish a biological opinion regarding such consultation, and pay the group $130,000 in attorney fees. When FWS failed to initiate consultation, the group sought to enforce the consent decree. The FWS has since complied with all aspects of the decree. The group now seeks additional attorney fees for its actions in "monitoring" and "enforcing" the consent judgment. However, there was no deadline specified in the consent decree as to when the FWS must begin consultation. Thus, the group cannot establish that the FWS was in violation of the consent judgment as of the time it filed its motion to enforce the consent judgment. The group's claim for fees and costs is therefore without merit.