Jun 022015

Afternoon update:

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit (technically, a petition for review) in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's approval of Shell's exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea (Alaska Wilderness League v. Jewell). Scroll down for the petition. Here is the press release.

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FWS and NMFS will have to take another look at a Habitat Conservation Plan after a court found that the services did not comply with the law when they issued Incidental Take Permits (Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center v. NOAA, 13-3717-NC, N.D. Cal.).

Here's the conclusion of the order from U.S. District Judge Nathanael Cousins, who had previously issued an opinion

Based on the discussion above, the Court VACATES the northern-spotted-owl incidental take permit issued by FWS, the coho-salmon incidental take permit issued by NMFS, the coho-salmon biological opinion issued by NMFS, the coho-salmon incidental take statement issued by NMFS, and the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by both FWS and NMFS. The Court finds that the seriousness of the Services’ errors significantly outweighs the asserted disruptive consequences that would result from vacatur. This case is therefore REMANDED to the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for further proceedings consistent with this Order.

The Court, however, DENIES KS Wild’s motion to vacate the records of decision. The Court also DENIES KS Wild’s request for an injunction against the Services and Fruit Growers; in particular, KS Wild has not satisfied the irreparable-harm requirement. Finally, the Court DISMISSES KS Wild’s third claim because of its failure to brief the issue at summary judgment.


Mar 062015

See our Federal Register page for more   (and scroll down for the coral recovery plan links)

On Public Inspection today

FWS releases final recovery plan for the four subspecies of island fox (Urocyon littoralis). Each of the four subspecies, San Miguel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island fox (U. l. santarosae), Santa Cruz Island fox (U. l. santacruzae), and Santa Catalina Island fox (U. l. catalinae), is endemic to the Channel Islands off southern California (to be published 3/9) Plan not available till Monday, when notice is officially published in FR

FHWA: Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period for the Cross Harbor Freight Program, Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (to be published 3/9)

EPA asks for public input on the agency’s periodic retrospective review of its regulations :: Docket

Central Utah Project Completion Act Office in DOI releases final Environmental Assessment of the Proposed Olmsted Hydroelectric Power Plant Replacement Project  | More here

NMFS reschedules hearing on Large Coastal and Small Coastal Atlantic Shark Management Measures. Now March 18 in Manteo, NC

Published in today's FR

Friday, March 6, 2015

EPA receives EIS's for review

FERC releases EA for the Ozark Abandonment Project proposed by Ozark Gas Transmission

FERC to prepare EIS on impacts of the Supply Header Project (SHP) involving construction and operation of facilities by Dominion Transmission, Inc. in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project, involving construction and operation of facilities by Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina

Forest Service is preparing the Flathead National Forest’s revised land management plan (forest plan) and an amendment to provide relevant direction from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy into the forest plans for the Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark and Lolo National Forests. The Forest Service will prepare a single EIS for its revised forest plan and the amendment.

BLM releases Draft Land Use Plan Amendment and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the West Mojave Route Network Project (WMRNP) for the West Mojave (WEMO) Planning Area of the California Desert Conservation Area | More here

BLM's Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office, Palm Springs, California, together with Riverside County, California, intend to prepare a joint EIS/R, which may include an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, for the Desert Quartzite Solar Project | More here

NOAA publishes effective date for expansion of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

NOAA submits ICR to OMB for review. On March 28, 2003, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Services) announced a final policy on the criteria the Services will use to evaluate conservation efforts by states and other non-Federal entities (68 FR 15100). The services take these efforts into account when making decisions on whether to list a species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

NMFS releases final recovery plan for elkhorn coral and staghorn coral | Plan is here

BOEM has prepared a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas Lease Sales 246 and 248, which are tentatively scheduled to be held in August 2015 and 2016, respectively, in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Western Planning Area (WPA) offshore the States of Texas and Louisiana.

BOEM announces three additional public scoping meetings for the EIS on the 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Mar 062015

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a petition from Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) that challenged the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s 2012-17 Outer Continental Shelf leasing program on the grounds that it violated both the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and NEPA (Center for Sustainable Economy v. Jewell, 12-1431, 3/6/15). (CSE […]