Environmental

    • 13 Nov 2015

    Migratory Bird Treaty Act Enforcement Questioned

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”), [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this Act: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], only criminalizes acts related to hunting or poaching, not omissions that unintentionally kill birds. US. V. Citgo Petroleum Corporation, et al., case number No. 14-40128, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this...
    • 20 Oct 2015

    Wind Power Companies Further Commit to Protection of Bats

    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced that seventeen of its members have agreed to voluntary operating restrictions to reduce wind turbine speeds in the fall to minimize the number of bats killed during their migration season. According to the AWEA, the new policy results from more than 10 years of research by the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative and others. It is anticipated that the changes may reduce...
    • 8 Oct 2015

    U.S Crackdown on Ivory Trade – Implications for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

    The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed an amendment to the African Elephant Rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, which would enforce stricter regulations on the United States ivory trade. If finalized, the rule would prohibit sale or offer for sale of ivory and sport-hunted trophies in interstate or foreign commerce. Exceptions would only be granted for antiques and musical instruments with...
    • 28 Sep 2015

    Should Non-Human Animals Have Rights?

    Who is a “person”? If corporations can be “persons”, why not chimpanzees? Do sentient non-human animals deserve legal rights? The Nonhuman Rights Project is a US civil rights organization working to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. Its mission is to change the legal status of appropriate nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity...
    • 15 Sep 2015

    Migratory Birds

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a Notice of Intent seeking comment on whether it should prepare an Environmental Impact Statement related to the impact of proposed facilities and structures on migratory birds. Trade associations representing the tower industry (PCIA) and wireless industry (CTIA) filed comments last week arguing that the FWS should not prepare an EIS or adopt formal...
    • 26 Aug 2015

    USFWS WV Field Office Guidance on Bat Conservation Plans – Proceed Cautiously

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released the “Guidance on Developing and Implementing a Myotid Bat Conservation Plan. http://www.fws.gov/westvirginiafieldoffice/PDF/WVFO_IBCP.pdf . Key teaching points about this guidance are raised in the following Q&A: • Why develop a plan? It can help significantly reduce the likelihood a “take” would occur. • Will a plan protect me legally...
    • 20 Aug 2015

    Proposal to List the Big Sandy Crayfish and Guyandotte River Crayfish as Endangered

    Coal, oil and gas, timber, and multiple other activities within the Guyandotte and Big Sandy watersheds in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky will be subject to new restrictions if the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proceeds with its recent proposal to list two crayfish species as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. On April 7, 2015, the USFWS announced a 12-month finding on a petition...
    • 30 Jul 2015

    Red Tuna Crabs Overrun CA Beaches

    Masses of small red tuna crabs have been washing up along San Diego, California area beaches from Ocean Beach to La Jolla. The species, Pleuroncodes planipes, is unique in that it can live its entire life cycle, from larva to adulthood, in the water column from surface to seafloor. Accordingly, it can be particularly vulnerable to being carried along by winds, tides, and currents. Local media sources report that the...
    • 21 Jul 2015

    Fisheries Act Convictions For Discharging Drinking Water

    Two Alberta construction companies have been convicted under the Fisheries Act for rupturing municipal water mains, discharging chlorinated drinking water into storm sewers and fish habitat. Treated municipal drinking water is harmful to fish, which is why it cannot be used as is in aquariums. So is it a breach of the Fisheries Act to discharge municipal drinking water into storm sewers? And does it matter how much...
    • 2 Jul 2015

    Cheese Whey Spill: $80,000 Fine

    By Meredith James Even seemingly innocuous substances, like human food and drink, can be hazardous to the natural environment. And spills of food and drink must be reported. Silani Sweet Cheese Limited manufactures a cheese at a facility in Bradford, West Gwilliumbury. In January 2013, ricotta cheese whey overflowed from a silo at the site. Although the discharge only lasted 10 minutes, approximately 1,200 litres...
    • 29 Jun 2015

    New Neonic Pesticide Controls in Ontario

    On July 1, 2015, new regulatory requirements for the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds in Ontario will start to come into effect, to protect bird and bee health.Ontario wants to reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 80 per cent by 2017 and to ensure that these seeds are used only when there is a demonstrated pest problem. Reducing neonicotinoid use in these two...
    • 18 May 2015

    Northern Long Eared Bat To Be Designated as Threatened, not Endangered – Litigation Immediately Begins

    On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it would be listing the northern long-eared bat as threatened , rather than endangered, as it had originally proposed in October of 2013. The listing gives the bat new protections but does not impose all of the requirements that would have been applicable had the bat been listed as endangered. A “threatened” species is likely to become...
    • 19 Feb 2015

    Less Environmental Enforcement = More Private Prosecutions?

    When governments do little to enforce environmental laws, generally or in particular areas, private citizens and environmental groups sometimes try to fill the gaps with private prosecutions. These cases are burdensome and expensive to handle, but can make a significant difference, as Ecojustice’s light pollution case did to make mirrored buildings safer for birds. But should private citizens really have to enforce...
    • 5 Jan 2015

    Further Asian Carp Barriers Proposed

    Efforts continue to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan through the Chicago waterway system. The latest proposal under consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) is to install controls at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The ACOE is seeking public comments on this proposal originally identified as one of eight options outlined in the ACOE Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin...
    • 24 Nov 2014

    Class Action for Harming Bees with Neonicotinoids

    By Jennifer Kalnins Temple Ontario beekeepers have filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court (Windsor) against two massive chemical companies, Bayer AG and Syngenta AG, for over $400 million dollars in losses allegedly caused by neonicotinoid pesticides. This is the first Canadian class action lawsuit filed for harm caused by the pesticides which have been identified as potentially responsible for the worldwide...
    • 13 Nov 2014

    Sage-Grouse Protection Threatens Growth of Renewable Energy

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to decide whether or not to list the greater sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.[1] The proposed listing has caused conflict between two groups of environmentalists: conservationists and advocates of renewable energy such as wind power. The greater sage-grouse, or Centrocercus urophasianus , is a chicken-like bird known for its eccentric mating strut...
    • 27 Oct 2014

    Failed Federal Collaboration: United States Fish and Wildlife Service State Relations

    By Kathy G. Beckett The supplemental comment period for the USFWS proposal to list as endangered the Northern Long Eared Bat (“NLEB”) and to not list the Eastern Small Footed Bat closed on August 29, 2014. (79 Fed. Reg. 36698, June 30, 2014), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. The original proposal was published on October 2, 2013. (78 Fed. Reg. 61046), [ enhanced version available...
    • 2 Sep 2014

    Canada Lags US In Protecting Endangered Sage-Grouse

    By Meredith James In July, the US Fish and Wildlife Service launched a website to “communicate the breadth of the ongoing conservation actions underway to support Greater Sage-Grouse and the sage brush habitat the bird and 350 other species need.” The Greater Sage-Grouse website highlights work being done at the federal, state, NGO and individual level. Public affairs specialists are available to answer...
    • 31 Jul 2014

    Good News for the Sage Grouse

    As we have written before , the Greater Sage Grouse is on the verge of extinction, likely due to habitat loss related oil and gas development. Prompted by litigation , the federal government finally issued an Emergency Order to protect the grouse in December 2013. In January 2014, experts gathered at the Calgary Zoo to discuss reversing the decline in the sage grouse population through a captive breeding program. Last...
    • 29 Jul 2014

    Toronto Trees: $7B In Health and Environment

    Toronto trees are worth an estimated $7 Billion, or about $700 per tree, according to a June 9, 2014, report from TD Economics . Toronto trees provide residents with over $80 million, or about $8 per tree, of environmental benefits and savings a year, as they are a critical factor in environmental conditions, human health and the overall quality of urban health. But is it a good idea to put a price on trees? Meanwhile...
    • 21 Jul 2014

    Changes Proposed to Endangered Species Act

    The Obama Administration and the House Natural Resources Committee have each proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The changes proposed by the House Natural Resources Committee focus on giving additional transparency to the process of listing decisions by making the data used by the agencies publicly available. Additionally the House Natural Resources Committee’s proposed changes would affect litigation...
    • 11 Jun 2014

    Study Strengthens Link Between Neonicotinoids And Collapse Of Honey Bee Colonies

    Two widely used neonicotinoids—a class of insecticide—appear to significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter, particularly during colder winters, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study replicated a 2012 finding from the same research group that found a link between low doses of imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which bees abandon their hives...
    • 5 Jun 2014

    Northern Long-Eared Bat Update

    By Kathy G. Beckett Since the October 2, 2013 proposed listing of the Northern Long Eared Bat (NLEB) as endangered or threatened, over thirty-seven thousand comments, letters of concern and support have been filed with the agency. (78 Fed. Reg. 61046) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]. The USFWS has determined that the NLEB is in danger of extinction, predominantly due to the threat of white...
    • 14 May 2014

    USFWS Snubs State Natural Resources Agencies: Northern Long Eared Bat ESA Listing Proposal

    By Kathy G. Beckett There is a growing concern about USFWS action relative to the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) that speaks to the common dilemma, state versus federal. It was the state natural resource professionals who identified the impacts of White Nose Syndrome on bat populations in the United States and it is the states that have continued the research, yet USFWS dialogue on the matter fails to recognize...
    • 22 Apr 2014

    Japan’s Whaling Program Ruled Unscientific, Must Stop At Last

    By Meredith James In May 2010, Australia launched legal proceedings against Japan in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that: “Japan’s continued pursuit of a large-scale program of whaling under the Second Phase of its Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (‘JARPA II’), in breach of obligations assumed by Japan under the International Convention...