Description: Challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision that listing of the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act was “not warranted.”
WildEarth Guardians v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/05/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Challenging 2015 Determination that Listing Sonoran Desert Tortoise as Endangered or Threatened Was Not Warranted. WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s (FWS's) October 2015 decision that listing of the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act was “not warranted.” The complaint included a number of climate change-related allegations. It alleged that the FWS failed to consider and adequately apply the five threat factors for determining whether a species is endangered and threatened, including by failing “to consider and analyze how climate change is already impacting and will continue to directly, indirectly, and cumulatively impact the Sonoran desert tortoise and its habitat now and into the foreseeable future.” In addition, the complaint alleged that the FWS “arbitrarily dismissed the best available science on climate change impacts,” which predicted increased severity of droughts in the tortoises’ range. The plaintiffs also contended that in the analysis of whether the tortoise was in danger of extinction in a “significant portion of its range,” the FWS did not consider significance variables and factors such as climate change that, unlike the threat of urban development, might not have geographic concentrations.