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Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20046
Nos. 14-5284, (D.C. Cir., 03/01/2016)

The D.C. Circuit upheld FWS' decision to withdraw its proposal to list as endangered the dunes sagebrush lizard in New Mexico and Texas. After FWS proposed to list the lizard, it received updated information about conservation efforts in the two states. Based on this information, which included a voluntary plan by the state of Texas to engage private businesses in conservation efforts, FWS concluded that listing was no longer warranted. Conservation groups argued that the withdrawal was arbitrary and capricious because the voluntary plan was not sufficiently certain to be implemented nor to be effective under FWS' evaluation policy. But FWS adequately explained its basis for relying on the Texas plan and there was no risk that the agency relied on an overly speculative agreement. Given FWS' consideration of the Texas plan, the success it had already achieved, and its likely continued success based on progress made under similar New Mexico agreements, FWS' findings are supported by substantial evidence.