Thursday, December 20, 2007

Center For Native Ecosystems v. Cables

Dec 17: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 06-1130. The Center for Native Ecosystems, the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, and the Forest Guardians (collectively CNE) appeal the district court’s order denying a petition for review of the United States Forest Service’s authorization of livestock grazing in Medicine Bow National Forest. CNE first contends that the Forest Service violated § 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act, because (1) its consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) after the designation of portions of the forest as critical habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Preble’s mouse) failed to consider how grazing in the mouse’s critical habitat would affect its recovery, and (2) it must reinitiate consultation with the FWS regarding the effects of grazing on the mouse itself because grazing has exceeded previously established limits. CNE also contends that the Forest Service has violated § 313(a) of the Clean Water Act because it has not complied with Wyoming water-quality requirements “in the same manner, and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity,” 33 U.S.C. § 1323(a).

The Pole Mountain Cattlemen’s Association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, and the Laramie County Farmers Union (collectively the Cattlemen’s Association), along with the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, intervened in the district-court proceeding as defendants in support of the Forest Service’s actions. The State of Wyoming, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and the National Association of Home Builders in conjunction with the American Forest and Paper Association have filed amicus briefs supporting various aspects of the Forest Service’s actions. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court’s decision. One of the justices issued a separate but concurring opinion.

Access the complete opinion (
click here).

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