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Building Industry Ass'n of the Bay Area v. United States Department of Commerce

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20255
Nos. C 11-4118 PJH, (N.D. Cal., 11/30/2012) (Hamilton, J.)

A district court held that NOAA Fisheries adequately considered economic impacts when it designated 8.6 million acres in California, Oregon, and Washington as critical habitat for the green sturgeon, a threatened species. Developers argued that the agency was required to balance the economic impacts of designation with the environmental effects of designation. But the ESA does not specify any particular methodology that must be used to accomplish the consideration of economic impact. Because the agency did take into consideration the economic impact of designation before issuing its final rule, the agency complied with the ESA. The developers also argued that the agency failed to prepare an EA or EIS in violation of NEPA, but NEPA does not apply to critical habitat designations. The court, therefore, granted summary judgment in favor of the government and dismissed the case.