May 162011

The Center for Biological Diversity is continuing to oppose an agreement between WildEarth Guardians and the Fish and Wildlife Service that would require FWS to address the status of 251 species over the next six years.

In its own "recommendation for further proceedings" filed today, CBD said it had many concerns about the proposed agreement, and noted that if it "is approved and fully implemented, FWS would issue 90-day findings and 12-month findings for a total of 588 species.... The center submitted citizen listing petitions and/or brought legal action for 511, or 87 percent, of these species."

CBD's one case, which was consolidated with 12 complaints brought by WildEarth Guardians, "includes 20 claims for relief seeking to enforce Defendant’s failure to issue required findings under the ESA for 20 citizen petitions to list 92 species as 'endangered' or 'threatened' under the ESA. The required findings on several of these petitions are more than five years overdue."

But Guardians and FWS argued in their joint recommendation for further proceedings that "CBD is not a party to Guardians’ twelve cases in this [MultiDistrict Litigation] proceeding" and the joint motion for approval "was filed only in the 12 cases in which Guardians is the sole plaintiff."

Guardians and FWS said they would not oppose CBD being sllowed to comment on the agreement as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, "provided CBD is able to move for such leave in a timely manner so as to avoid any significant disruption to the current briefing schedule for the Joint Motion for Approval."

The Guardians/FWS filing also contained a footnote saying that "the federal
defendants strongly disagree with CBD’s characterization of the parties’ negotiations and note that a full response to these allegations is precluded by the parties’ confidentiality agreement."

Guardians' and federal defedendants' notice of filing a related settlement agreement

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