Parker Moore Quoted in Law360 on Critical Habitat Designation in Alaska
Principal Parker Moore (Washington, DC) was quoted in a June 10 article in Law360 titled "The Biggest Environmental Rulings Of 2016: Midyear Report." The article lists Alaska Oil and Gas Association v. Jewell as one of the most important environmental rulings so far this year.
In 2013, an Alaska district court reversed a rule protecting 120 million acres of polar bear habitat noting that the rule was too extensive. However, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other environmental groups appealed, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of FWS stating, "We agree with FWS that the district court held it to a standard of specificity that the ESA does not require."
Parker noted that the court locked in an overly broad interpretation of FWS's authority for designating critical habitat. "In allowing FWS to make a designation without supporting that designation with verifiable evidence of essential habitat features for the species, the court lowered the bar well below the ESA's standards," he said. "The effects of this decision undoubtedly will be felt far beyond Alaska and will compound the effects of the service's new critical habitat designation rule, making it much easier for FWS to set aside large swaths of land to boost species conservation without demonstrating that those lands are needed to conserve the species in the first place."
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