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Fund for Animals v. Hall

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20149
Nos. No. 1:03-CV-0677, (D.D.C., 04/13/2011)

A district court held that FWS complied with NEPA when it approved the opening and expansion of sport hunting in 60 National Wildlife Refuges. Between 1997 and 2005, the FWS issued nine final rules creating or expanding recreational hunting opportunities on 60 wildlife refuges. In 2006, a court held that FWS failed to consider the cumulative impacts of increased hunting prior to promulgating the rules in violation of NEPA. It therefore granted FWS additional time to complete a new environmental analysis. In 2007, the FWS completed the revised EAs, again concluding hunting would not have a significant impact on the overall environment, thereby resulting in a finding of no significant impact (FONSI). The FWS also conducted a supplemental cumulative impact analysis in 2008. The plaintiffs in the 2006 case renewed their lawsuit, again challenging FWS' decision not to prepare an EIS. They argued that the FWS failed to address the cumulative impact of increased hunting on non-hunting visitors, migratory birds, and endangered species. But the FWS' bottom-up analysis identified and assessed the cumulative impact of increased hunting across the entire refuge system. The record also demonstrates that the FWS' EA and FONSI are neither arbitrary nor capricious. The FWS also complied with the prior court order in reaching its decisions. Accordingly, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the government.