Elk NetworkJudge: Enviro Groups Cannot File Suit over ESA Plans

General | January 6, 2021

A U.S. District Court judge shot down a petition by an environmental group seeking to file lawsuits over particular recovery plans under the Endangered Species Act. The judge ruled ESA plans are more like suggestions and not steadfast rules so the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) had no legal leg to stand on.

“Notwithstanding the merits of the Center’s claim that the (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) Service is simply not doing enough to protect the grizzly bear, Congress has authorized only limited avenues for judicial review of administrative action, none of which are available in this case,” Judge Dana Christensen wrote, as reported by the Associated Press.

In 2014, CBD called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to include its demands regarding grizzly bears and grizzly range by reshaping the species’ recovery plan.

Since then, the litigious organization filed multiple lawsuits including most recently seeking to force grizzlies into the North Cascades in Washington despite local opposition. In 2019, it filed another lawsuit to place grizzlies into 12 states including Texas, California and the Grand Canyon.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that grizzly bears should be managed by state wildlife agencies just as they manage elk, mountain lions, deer, black bears and other species.

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks