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Defenders of Wildlife v. Andrus

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20269
Nos. No. 76-1443, 428 F. Supp. 167/9 ERC 1889/(D.D.C., 03/11/1977)

The court declares that the 1976-1977 bird hunting season regulations allowing shooting from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset are arbitrary and unlawful. Defendant Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is directed to continue rulemaking proceedings for the 1977-1978 season but must put more adequate focus upon the FWS obligation to conserve and increase populations of protected species that might be inadvertently killed because of twilight shooting. Plaintiff claimed that because the allowed twilight shooting resulted in hunter misidentification of protected birds, the Secretary of the Interior violated his duties under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The court notes that the administrative record is barren of sufficient information regarding the impact of the contested shooting hours on protected birds. FWS has an obligation not only to avoid elimination of protected species but also to increase their population. The 1976-1977 regulations are moot because the season is over. Although some inadvertent killing could be allowed, the record under the new regulations must show that such killing is kept to the minimum.

The moving papers in this case are digested at ELR 65369, 65415.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Bruce J. Terris, Helen Cohn Needham, Nathalie V. Black
1908 Sunderland Pl., NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 332-1882

Counsel for Defendants
Irwin L. Schroeder
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2710

Ronald Lambertson, Ass't Solicitor for Fish and Wildlife
Department of the Interior, Washington DC 20240
(202) 343-2172

Counsel for Intervening Defendants International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Charles S. Fax, Paul A. Lenzini
Chapman, Gadsby, Hannah & Duff
1700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 223-9100