Some litigation and other loose ends from November-December 2021

A holiday gift?  Header links are to news articles.

(New case.)  In a December 7 lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor, a group of Colorado river guides claim the federal government has arbitrarily imposed a $15 minimum wage on the outdoor industry, rendering extended tours through public lands less attainable.  The article includes a link to the complaint.

(New case.)  On November 29, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a Trump administration rule that expanded hunting on national wildlife refuges when it determined that listed species found in or near the refuges would not be adversely affected by the expansion.  Species mentioned the grizzly bear, jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi, Audubon’s crested caracara, wood stork, and whooping crane.  The article includes a link to the complaint.

(Update.)  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and multiple conservation groups reached an agreement to conduct a new Endangered Species Act status review of California spotted owls by Feb. 25, 2023. The stipulated settlement stems from a suit the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups filed against the Trump administration in 2020 for not adding the spotted owl to the list of endangered species.

(Follow-up.)  A proposal to add the Pearl River map turtle to the federal endangered species list was published on November 23 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after two environmental groups sued the agency last year for missing the determination deadline by a decade.  The proposed listing (the article contains a link) mentions the Bienville National Forest in Mississippi favorably.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule revising the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl.  The final rule rescinds a previous rule issued by the Trump Administration on January 15, 2021, which would have excluded approximately 3.4 million acres from the species’ critical habitat designation.  We talked more generally about critical habitat and spotted owls here.  Related litigation was discussed here.

Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced legislation to establish a new national monument in central Oregon on BLM lands.  According to Merkley’s press release, the proposal has the support of several conservation groups as well as the city of Mitchell, which has seen economic benefits from Painted Hills tourism and visiting cyclists.

The Rio Grande National Forest announced the inclusion of an administrative change in its revised  forest plan. The change addressed recently acquired lands that were not included in the Rio Grande National Forest’s land base when the plan was revised.

The 2012 Planning Rule allows administrative changes for “corrections of clerical errors to any part of the plan, conformance of the plan to new statutory or regulatory requirements, or changes to other content in the plan (§219.7(f)).”  Hmmm.


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