Description: Challenge to final rule defining "habitat" under the Endangered Species Act.
Conservation Council for Hawai‘i v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/14/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Environmental Groups Alleged Definition of “Habitat” Would Constrain Endangered Species Act Responses to Climate Change. Environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging the final rule defining “habitat” under the Endangered Species Act. Their lawsuit, filed in the federal district court for the District of Hawai‘i, alleged that the definition “fails to account for the impacts of climate change by giving species only enough habitat to eke out an existence in today’s climate, as opposed to protecting the areas they will need to recover and thrive in the long term.” The groups contended that the plain language of the Endangered Species Act did not support the exclusion from the “habitat” definition of “currently unoccupied areas that the best available science identifies as essential to species conservation in the future, when imperiled species will need to move to or otherwise utilize new areas in response to climate change.” They asserted claims under the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, and the Administrative Procedure Act.