Description: Challenge to incidental take permit for grizzly bears and bull trout.
Friends of the Wild Swan v. Jewell
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/21/2014 Order Download Order issued and matter remanded. The federal district court for the District of Montana upheld an incidental take permit for grizzly bears and bull trout (both are threatened species under the Endangered Species Act) for logging and road building activities on land in western Montana, except to the extent of finding that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had failed to justify the conclusion that mitigation measures for the take of grizzly bears were sufficient. The court concluded that the FWS’s review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was adequate, including the review of climate change-related cumulative impacts. The FWS included a chapter on climate change in the final environmental impact statement in response to public comment; the chapter discussed “the causes of climate change, its effects on forest management, projections for future temperatures, the environmental impacts of increased temperatures, current approaches to the issue, and a comparison of the effects of climate change across the alternatives.” In particular, the chapter addressed the effects of climate change on bull trout, including loss of bull trout habitat. Plaintiffs criticized the “disconnect” between the assessment of climate change’s adverse impacts and the FWS’s conclusions regarding the environmental consequences of the permit, but the court concluded that the FWS adequately addressed and mitigated climate change’s potential effects.