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Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20150
Nos. 16-35866, (9th Cir., 08/17/2018)

The Ninth Circuit reversed in part a district court's summary judgment that upheld FWS' decision not to list the arctic grayling as an endangered or threatened species under the ESA. Environmental groups argued that FWS erred in considering only the current range of the arctic grayling when determining whether it was in danger of extinction "in all or a significant portion of its range." Both the district court and the appellate court concluded that FWS did not err, finding that FWS' interpretation of "range" as "current range" warrants deference. The groups further argued that FWS' assessment of the cumulative impacts of climate change arbitrarily relied on uncertainty to avoid making determinations about the threat of climate change. Here the appellate court agreed, ruling that FWS acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to explain why the uncertainty of climate change favors not listing the arctic grayling when the agency acknowledged the warming of water temperatures and decreasing water flow because of global warming. The court therefore reversed in part the district court's grant of summary judgment, and remanded the listing decision to FWS for further consideration.