Description: Lawsuit challenging continued listing of golden-cheeked warbler as an endangered species.
General Land Office of the State of Texas v. U.S. Department of the Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/15/2020 Opinion Download Decision denying the delisting petition vacated and remanded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for further proceedings. Fifth Circuit Vacated Denial of Petition to Delist Bird Facing Climate Change Threats. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision denying a petition to delist the golden-cheeked warbler was arbitrary and capricious because the FWS applied “an inappropriately heightened” standard to its review of the delisting petition. The court said the FWS should not have required that the petition contain information that the FWS had not considered in its five-year review of the species that was sufficient to refute the five-year review’s conclusions that the warbler should remain listed. The Fifth Circuit’s opinion did not mention climate change, but climate change was one of the additional threats to the warbler that the FWS said the delisting petition failed to present information to address.
General Land Office of State of Texas v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/06/2019 Order Download Texas's motion for summary judgment denied and defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment granted. Federal Court Upheld Denial of Petition to Remove Golden-Cheeked Warbler from Endangered Species List. The federal district court for the Western District of Texas upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) 90-day finding that supported denial of a petition to remove the golden-cheeked warbler from the list of endangered species. A 2014 review of the warbler’s status found that the warbler was still threatened by widespread destruction of its habitat; at that time, the warbler had been classified as “critically vulnerable” to climate change. In 2015, a petition to delist was submitted, and in 2016, the FWS found that the petition to delist failed to present information regarding the threats of habitat destruction and fragmentation and regarding how those threats affected analysis of other potential threats. The FWS also found that the petition to delist failed to present any information on other potential threats to the warbler’s survival, including climate change. In upholding the FWS’s findings, the court rejected the argument that the review of the petition to delist was overly stringent, as well as the argument that the FWS acted arbitrarily and capriciously by listing the warbler as endangered while refusing to designate critical habitat. 08/15/2018 Reply Download Reply filed by federal defendants in support of cross-motion for summary judgment. 07/31/2018 Opposition Download Plaintiffs filed opposition to defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment and reply to defendants' opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. 07/12/2018 Amicus Brief Download Amicus brief filed by American Stewards of Liberty in support of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. 07/12/2018 Amicus Brief Download Amicus curiae brief filed by Travis Audubon Society et al. in opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and in support of federal defendants' cross motion for summary judgment. 06/29/2018 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Federal defendants filed cross motion for summary judgment and opposition to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. 05/15/2018 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs. 02/13/2018 Complaint Download Second amended complaint filed. 11/30/2017 Order Download Motion to intervene denied without prejudice and motion for partial dismissal granted. The court dismissed all but the plaintiff's claim that the failure to delist the warbler, while continuing to refuse to designate critical habitat, was in contradiction of scientific data presented in the petition to delist. 08/01/2017 Motion to Intervene Download Motion to intervene as defendants by Travis Audubon Society, Texas Ornithological Society, Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife. 06/05/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed.