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Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20103
Nos. No. 08-1339, (N.D. Cal., 04/28/2008)

A district court ordered the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to publish a final listing determination for the polar bear by May 15, 2008. The parties agreed that the DOI failed to meet its nondiscretionary duty under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) §4 to act on the proposed rule within one year of its publication in the Federal Register. They also agreed that the court should issue an injunction. But while plaintiffs argued that the DOI should publish the listing by May 15, the DOI argued that it should have until June 30 given the legal and factual complexity of the rule, the number and variety of public comments received, and the amount of internal review required. To allow the DOI more time would violate the mandated listing deadlines under the ESA and congressional intent that time is of the essence in listing threatened species. The DOI has been in violation of the law for nearly 120 days. Other than the general complexity of finalizing the rule, the DOI offers no specific facts that would justify the existing delay, much less further delay. The court also ordered the DOI to waive the 30-day notice period so that the published rule will take effect immediately upon publication of the final listing determination.