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Conservation Law Foundation v. Ross

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20177
Nos. 18-1087 (JEB), (D.D.C., 10/28/2019) (Boasberg, J.)

A district court enjoined a NMFS rule that opened two areas of previously protected North Atlantic right whale habitat off the New England coast to gillnet fishing. An environmental group argued that the Sustainable Fisheries Division (SFD) of NMFS failed to consult with the agency’s Protected Resources Division (PRD) regarding the effects of the rule on the endangered whale as required by the ESA. The court found that the SFD was required to undergo consultation with the PRD because it had determined in its EIS that the rule “may affect” the species, and thus that its failure to consult violated the ESA. It therefore enjoined the rule and restored the previous ban on gillnet gear in the two areas.