Description: Challenge to the withdrawal of the proposed listing of the Bi-State Sage Grouse as threatened.
Desert Survivors v. U.S. Department of the Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 05/15/2018 Order Download Summary judgment granted to plaintiffs. California Federal Court Said Fish and Wildlife Service’s Withdrawal of Bi-State Sage Grouse Proposed Listing Was Arbitrary and Capricious, but Upheld Consideration of Cumulative Threats, Including Climate Change. The federal district court for the Northern District of California ruled for plaintiffs who challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s withdrawal in 2015 of the proposed listing of the Bi-State Sage Grouse distinct population segment of the greater sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The court rejected, however, the argument that the FWS had not considered cumulative threats to the Bi-State Sage Grouse, including climate change. The court noted that courts had generally found that the FWS met the requirement to consider cumulative threats when it provided “even a brief discussion” of such threats. In this case, the court said the FWS “offered sufficient explanation of its consideration of cumulative threats” by “identif[ying] the threats that may interact and provid[ing] some explanation of the implications of the interactions.” The court found, however, that other aspects of the FWS’s determination were otherwise arbitrary and capricious and that the definition of “significant” in the FWS’s final policy on interpretation of the phrase “significant portion of its range” was an impermissible interpretation.