Compact Protecting Species Nationwide
Washington, DC –The Washington, DC, Federal Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court’s opinion that WildEarth Guardians’ endangered species settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is permissible under federal law, and that an extreme hunting organization had no standing to intervene to block the agreement.
“This is the right decision, and we are thankful for the Court’s opinion,” said Mark Salvo, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “The decision preserves an effective, efficient, progressive settlement agreement that is already working to protect and recover endangered species.”
The settlement agreement, approved by the District Court in September 2011, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to address 252 candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act before the end of FY 2016. The agreement has already resulted in 54 new species listings and the designation of 94,689 acres and 2,032 stream miles of critical habitat to support their recovery. These include a suite of freshwater mussels in Alabama and Florida, a large number of Hawaiian species, and three plants threatened by energy development in Colorado.
More than 200 candidate species are scheduled for action in the next four years, including the Oregon spotted frog, New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, greater sage-grouse, Gunnison sage-grouse, yellow-billed cuckoo, and Sonoran desert tortoise.
Listing under the Endangered Species Act has proven to be an effective safety net for imperiled species: more than 99 percent of plants and animals listed under the Act persist today. But the law only protects species that are formally listed as “threatened” or “endangered.” Plants and animals on the candidate list were previously recognized by the Service as warranting listing under the Act. Some candidate species have waited for more than three decades for protection.
View the appellate court’s opinion here.