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Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20158
Nos. 21-884 (EGS), (D.D.C., 08/16/2021) (Sullivan, J.)

A district court denied a water district's motion to intervene in an ESA lawsuit seeking protections for longfin smelt. The water district argued it had standing to intervene because its alleged injury—a reduction in water allocation—was economic, its injury was traceable to plaintiff's claims seeking to list the smelt species under the ESA, and a decision to list the species as a result of the suit would directly impact its future water supply availability. The court found the district's alleged injury was not "certainly impending," that it was based on a potential future listing of the longfin smelt, which was not before the court, and that a ruling would have no direct impact on whether there would be additional ESA restrictions, and thus that the district did not have standing to intervene. The district alternatively moved for permissive intervention, but the court found such intervention could lead to undue delay and did not significantly contribute to the just and equitable adjudication of plaintiff's claims, and that denying intervention would not prejudice the district's interests because a ruling would have no direct impact on whether there would be additional ESA restrictions. It therefore denied the district's motion to intervene.