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USFWS Species Listing An Internal Process

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On May 26, 2015 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals delivered an opinion in National Association of Home Builders v. USFWS, No. 14-5121 (D.C. Cir. May 26, 2015) that attempted to revisit the strict deadlines for the USFWS to submit either a warranted or not-warranted finding for numerous candidate species. Click here.  The district court granted the Service’s motion for lack of standing.  The appellate court agreed.  Commenting that the appellants’ members were historically able to exploit the leisurely pace of the Service listing process to seek cooperative solutions to the problem of habitat destruction and thus ameliorate the impact of the ESA on their commercial activities, the court’s tone was protective of the USFWS task pursuant to the ESA.  The Court cautioned that the procedures of the ESA are designed to allow the agency to manage the listing process with available resources, and is “not an escape hatch for beleaguered landowners.”  Concluding that the appellants face only the possibility of regulation as opposed to a cognizable harm, the Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal.

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