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Center for Biological Diversity v. Ross

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20177
Nos. 18-112 (JEB) and 18-283 (JEB), (D.D.C., 10/04/2018) (Boasberg, J.)

A district court granted environmental groups' request for discovery relevant to the lobster fishing industry's impact on the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The groups argued that NMFS violated its ongoing duty under §7 of the ESA to ensure against jeopardy of endangered right whales and its obligation under §9 of the Act to prevent unauthorized take of the species, and that bringing these claims under the Act's citizen-suit provision is sufficient to entitle them to discovery. The court concluded that the groups are entitled to discovery on their ESA claims, consistent with the Act's intent to ensure the ongoing conservation of endangered species and to ensure that agencies fulfill their role as stewards. Moreover, the court will benefit from a record that reflects the actual, ongoing effects of the lobster fishery on the species. The court therefore granted the groups' motion for discovery.