Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20167
Nos. 18-36030, (9th Cir., 07/08/2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part a district court order remanding to FWS several issues concerning its 2017 rule removing ESA protections for the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population. The district court held that FWS failed to adequately consider the impact of delisting on the remnant grizzly population, acted contrary to the best available science when it determined that the grizzly was not threatened by a lack of genetic diversity, and failed to include a commitment to recalibration in the event a different population estimator were to be adopted; it thus vacated and remanded the rule. On appeal, the court found that because there were no concrete, enforceable mechanisms in place to ensure long-term genetic health of the grizzly, the district court correctly concluded the rule was arbitrary and capricious in that regard, and correctly concluded FWS' decision to drop the commitment to recalibration violated the ESA because it was a result of political pressure rather than having been based on the best scientific and commercial data. However, it agreed with FWS that the district court appeared to have required the agency to conduct a new comprehensive review of the remnant population under ESA §4(a), which it found was not required by the ESA. The appellate court therefore remanded for the district court to order further examination of the delisting's effect on the remnant grizzly population, but affirmed the district court's order in all other respects.