Parker Moore Quoted in Law360 on Protected Wildlife Developments for 2016

Principal Parker Moore (Washington, DC) was quoted in a December 24 article in Law360 titled “Environmental Legislation and Regulation to Watch in 2016.” The article discusses the outlook for environmental legislation and regulation in 2016.

Parker notes that 2016 will be a very active year for protected wildlife laws, specifically the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). He explains that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plans to issue a final 4(d) rule this winter for the northern long-eared bat, an ESA-listed threatened species with a broad range covering 37 states.

Parker says that “FWS likely will take a broader approach under the final rule that focuses on potential impacts associated with the location of an activity rather than the activity type.” As a result, he anticipates that the final rule will expand beyond the timber industry to also cover tree clearing activities of other industries as long as project developers take steps to protect the species through buffer area setbacks, in lieu fee payments into conservation funds, and other conservation measures. He believes that this should come as welcome news to members of the oil and gas, commercial and residential development, mining, and agriculture industries, all of whom experienced substantial project delays in 2015 from seasonal tree clearing restrictions designed to protect the bat.

Later in 2016, Parker expects FWS to make determinations on whether to propose ESA protections for two pollinator species with extensive ranges -- the monarch butterfly and the rusty-patched bumblebee. He cautions that an ESA listing for either species could dramatically limit warm weather project development across a significant portion of the United States.

Finally, in the coming months, he predicts that FWS will take steps to undercut the recent ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit by issuing an interpretive rule defining unauthorized “take” of migratory birds under the MBTA.

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