Description: Challenge to denial of petitions to designate critical habitat for Florida panther.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/18/2012 Opinion Download Opinion issued. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed a district court decision dismissing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS's) denial of petitions to designate critical habitat for the Florida panther. In 2009, several environmental advocacy groups petitioned the FWS to initiate such rulemaking, contending that the species was suffering a decline in population due to fragmentation and degradation of its habitat caused, in part, by climate change. The FWS denied the petitions on the grounds that the measures it was already taking were sufficient. The groups subsequently filed suit in federal court alleged that the denial violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Endangered Species Act. The district court granted the FWS’s motion to dismiss, holding that the FWS decision was committed to agency discretion by law and thus it could not be reviewed. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed on identical grounds.