Apr 142015
 

A federal judge invalidated incidental take permits issued by FWS and NMFS that covered about 150,000 acres of forest land in northern California (Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center v. NOAA, 13-3717 NC, N.D. Cal.).

U.S. District Judge Nathanael Cousins found the incidental take permits issued by the services, the biological opinion issued by NMFS, and the Final Environmental Impact Statement invalid.

But Cousins denied KS Wild's summary judgment motion to invalidate FWS's biological opinion.

"[I]n light of the fact that the court did not invalidate FWS’s biological opinion, and given the parties’ cursory treatment of this incidental-take-statement issue, the court seeks additional briefing as to why it should not grant summary judgment to the services on KS Wild’s third claim. Additionally, the court seeks additional briefing concerning why the Zolin case—or any other case articulating the waiver principle—should apply."

Excerpts:

Main claim: That FWS and NMFS "improperly issued 50-year incidental take permits to defendant-intervenor Fruit Growers Supply Company to take two 'threatened' species: the northern spotted owl and the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon. KS Wild alleges multiple
violations of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act."

"KS Wild’s key allegation is that Fruit Growers wrongfully obtained an incidental take permit by piggybacking off of the U.S. Forest Service’s conservation efforts on neighboring lands."

"Fruit Growers manages its lands in northern California in three management units: the Klamath River Management Unit, the Scott Valley Management Unit, and the Grass Lake Management Unit. The Klamath River and Scott Valley Management Units are located west of the Interstate 5 in Siskiyou County, California, and the Grass Lake Management Unit is located east of the Interstate 5, north of Mt. Shasta, and also in Siskiyou County."

Links:

CBD, et al., release on decision

Coverage on Nossaman LLP's page