Description: Challenge to decision not to list the ribbon seal as endangered or threatened.
Center for Biological Diversity v. Lubchenco
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/21/2010 Order Download Summary judgment granted to defendants. After discovery, both sides moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the government’s motion, holding that the agencies’ decision was supported by the evidence and was not arbitrary or capricious. 11/30/2009 Order Motion to transfer denied. The defendants moved to transfer the action to Alaska. The magistrate judge assigned to the case denied the motion, holding that local interests in Alaska did not outweigh the Center for Biological Diversity’s choice of forum in California.
09/03/2009 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Two environmental organizations filed suit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Secretary of Commerce based on their failure to list the ribbon seal as threatened because of climate change. On December 23, 2008, NMFS rejected the Center for Biological Diversity's petition to list the species, stating that although the loss of sea ice loomed as a problem for ribbon seals, it was likely that enough summer ice would remain in the seals’ habitat such that population extinction was not a risk in the foreseeable future. The lawsuit alleged that NMFS used an improperly truncated time frame of 43 years as the “foreseeable future” when determining that the ribbon seals’ sea-ice habitat was expected to continuing forming annually for the foreseeable future, failed to consider whether there might be a distinct population segment of ribbon seals that should be listed, and failed to consider whether the seals might be threatened or endangered in a significant portion of their range.