Description: Lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's failure to protect eight species under the Endangered Species Act.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/18/2020 Order Download Case dismissed pursuant to stipulated settlement agreement. Parties Settled Lawsuit Regarding Delayed Listing Determinations on Eight Climate-Threatened Species. The federal district court for the Northern District of California dismissed an Endangered Species Act lawsuit brought by Center for Biological Diversity and San Francisco Baykeeper to compel listing decisions on eight species after the parties reached an agreement pursuant to which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would review the status of two species—the marron bacora (a plant threatened by climate change among other factors) and the Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly (also threatened by climate change). The settlement agreement indicated that the FWS had already taken action on four other species at issue in the case. The settlement agreement required the FWS to review the status of the species and submit 12-month findings for publication by the end of July 2020 for the marron bacora and by the end of August 2020 for the Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly. 02/12/2020 Settlement Agreement Download Stipulated settlement agreement filed. 10/29/2019 Status Report Download Status report filed by defendants. 09/03/2019 Motion Motion filed by defendants to stay proceedings until October 31, 2019. 05/23/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Seeking Protections for Eight “Highly Imperiled” Species. The Center for Biological Diversity filed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) citizen suit in the federal district court for the Northern District of California alleging that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was in “flagrant violation” of its obligations to protect eight “highly imperiled species”: the longfin smelt (San Francisco Bay-Delta population), Hermes copper butterfly, Marron bacora (a plant), Sierra Nevada red fox, red tree vole (North Coast population), gopher tortoise (eastern population), Berry Cave Salamander, and Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly. The complaint alleged that these species were among the “approximately one million species worldwide” that “face extinction in the foreseeable future as a direct consequence of human-caused habitat loss and climate change, among many other threats.” FWS deemed the listing of the eight species as “warranted but precluded” in December 2016, and the complaint asserted that FWS was now in violation of the ESA because it was not making “expeditious progress” to list other higher-priority species and had not published new findings regarding whether the listing of the eight species continued to be precluded.