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Center for Biological Diversity v. Ross

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20088
Nos. 18-112 (JEB), (D.D.C., 04/09/2020) (Boasberg, J.)

A district court held that NMFS violated the ESA by approving a U.S. lobster fishery without adequately considering the fishery's impact on the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Conservation groups argued the agency violated the ESA by failing to include an incidental take statement (ITS) in its 2014 biological opinion that anticipated take of the endangered whale would occur as a result of the fishery's operation. The court found that NMFS' failure to include an ITS after finding that the fishery had the potential to harm the endangered whale at more than three times the sustainable rate was a straightforward violation of the ESA, which requires an ITS when the taking of an endangered species is anticipated. It therefore granted the groups' motion for summary judgment and declared the opinion invalid.