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Western Watersheds Project v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20153
Nos. 20-cv-00860 (APM), (D.D.C., 06/19/2020) (Mehta, J.)

A district court denied a motion to preliminarily enjoin grizzly bear killings in connection with a 2019 biological opinion and incidental take statement issued by FWS that allow for their lethal removal in Bridger-Teton National Forest as a result of conflict with livestock. Conservation groups argued that the biological opinion and incidental take statement violated the ESA by, among other things, failing to rationally justify its exemption from ESA liability for the anticipated killing of 72 grizzly bears. The court found that many checks were built into the biological opinion to ensure that the killing of grizzly bears, especially females, would not suddenly increase, and therefore denied the groups' motion to enjoin the killings.