Description: Challenge to final rules under the Endangered Species Act defining "habitat" and revising the regulations for designating critical habitat.
California v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/19/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. States and Local Governments Alleged Definition of “Habitat” Would Constrain Endangered Species Act Responses to Climate Change. States and New York City filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of California challenging two regulations adopted under the Endangered Species Act in December 2020. The plaintiffs asserted that the first rule, which defines the statutory term “habitat,” “fails to account for species’ need to expand their current ranges or to migrate to currently unoccupied habitat in response to existential threats such as climate change and habitat destruction to ensure species recovery and survival as mandated by the [Endangered Species Act].” The plaintiffs asserted that the process established by the second rule, the “Habitat Exclusion Rule,” would exclude more areas from critical habitat designation and protection under the Endangered Species Act. The states alleged that the rules violated the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, and the Administrative Procedure Act.