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Louisiana v. Department of Commerce

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20174
Nos. 21-1523, (E.D. La., 09/09/2021) (Milazzo, J.)

A district court granted the state of Louisiana's motion for preliminary injunction to delay the effective date of NMFS' 2019 rule requiring turtle excluder devices on certain skimmer trawl vessels operating in inshore waters. The state argued the effective date was arbitrary and capricious because it did not consider the amount of time necessary for shrimpers to come into compliance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court found that the rule was a final, reviewable agency action, and that NMFS did not present any evidence that it considered the ability of net makers to produce sufficient devices and for shrimpers to comply with the rule by the effective date. It further found that Louisiana had shown its economy would be irreparably harmed if the effective date was not extended. It therefore granted the state's motion for preliminary injunction, and enjoined NMFS from imposing the rule for six months.