Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brief Filed In Case To Protect Imperiled Mouse And Overturn Dangerous Endangered Species Act Policy

We have filed an opening brief on the merits in our case challenging the Bush Administration's decision to strip the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse of all Endangered Species Act protection in the Wyoming portion of its range (the subspecies remains protected in Colorado). The partial delisting decision was based on a controversial ESA policy adopted in 2007 and that, contrary to decades of prior practice, has been applied to limit the protection of not only the Preble's, but also wolves and other listed species. On behalf of the Colorado-based Center for Native Ecosystems and other conservation groups, we are seeking to restore full ESA protection for the Preble's, as well as invalidate the underlying policy limiting species protections. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. For a copy of our brief, click here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Journal of Legal Education Publishes Roundtable on Animal Law

The November 2010 issue of the Journal of Legal Education focuses on the emerging area of animal law, featuring a roundtable with young practitioners including Jessica Almy, an associate at Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.  The roundtable, available online, focuses on challenges to advancing the interests of animals and ways that law schools can help prepare students to become animal lawyers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eubanks Invited to Speak at Inaugural Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference

Bill Eubanks will be presenting at the 1st Annual Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, November 20, on a panel titled The Endangered Species Act: The Many Routes to Protecting Southeastern Species and Habitat through the ESA.  Eubanks will speak again on Sunday, November 21, on a panel titled Rulings from the High Court: What Remedies Are Available to Environmental Plaintiffs After Winter and Monsanto.  More information about the conference can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/apielconference/.

Monday, November 15, 2010

West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel: Litigation Update

The oral argument for the Flying Squirrel case is scheduled on Wednesday, 11/17/2010. On behalf of a coalition of environmental organizations, we had filed a suit in June 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), challenging the removal of the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel from any protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and requesting the Court to reinstate the Squirrel’s “endangered species” listing. In brief, we primarily argue that the delisting decision is not based on objective measurable criteria or best available science, as required by the ESA.

All written briefs in the case are complete and the oral hearing is on 11/17/2010 at 10:00 A.M. in Courtroom 24A at the District of Columbia Federal District Courthouse before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eubanks Publishes Paper in Peer-Reviewed Climate Change Journal

Bill Eubanks recently published a paper on the devastating impacts of climate change in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses.  The paper highlights the rapidly worsening effects of climate change on the northeastern United States by focusing on the quintessential species in the region -- the sugar maple.  The abstract can be found here:  http://ijc.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.185/prod.82.  The paper builds on an earlier article that was published by the Penn State Environmental Law Review, available here:  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1286946.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eubanks to Speak on BP Oil Spill at 18th Annual Animal Law Conference

Bill Eubanks will be presenting at the 18th Annual Animal Law Conference in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, October 16, on a panel titled, Dangerous Waters: Animals in the Wake of the Gulf Oil Spill.  Eubanks was the lead counsel for conservation and animal protection organizations in a recent lawsuit that forced BP and the Coast Guard to substantially alter their in-situ burn policies in order to ensure that endangered and threatened sea turtles would not be killed by the burns.  More information about the conference can be found here: http://www.lclark.edu/law/student_groups/student_animal_legal_defense_fund/animal_law_conference/

Thursday, August 26, 2010

District Court Vacates Cypress Creek Town Center (CCTC) Permit

Following on a June 30, 2010 Opinion finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) violated the Clean Water Act in authorizing a massive shopping mall development in Southern Florida (see July 8, 2010 Posting), last week the district Court vacated the CCTC permit, preventing any further development of the mall. Although the Corps and the developer argued that the legal violations were not significant enough to warrant vacatur, the Court disagreed, concluding that “vacatur is appropriate in order to prevent significant harm resulting from keeping the agency’s decision in place.” The Court permitted the developer to continue operating a stormwater discharge system necessary in light of the wetlands destruction that has already occurred, and to complete a road already under construction on the site. A copy of the Court’s Opinion is attached.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Showing Animals Respect and Kindness Victorious in FOIA Lawsuit

Last week we prevailed in a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) suit against the Department of the Interior concerning the withholding of videos depicting the vicious and unlawful killing of a tame black bear by country singer Troy Gentry. The U.S. district court ruled that Gentry had no significant privacy interest in the videos and that plaintiff Showing Animals Respect and Kindness demonstrated a public interest in their disclosure to shed light on the government’s prosecution of Gentry and his co-conspirator under various criminal laws. A copy of the Court’s opinion is here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eubanks Publishes Cover Article In The Environmental Forum’s Summer Reading Issue

William Eubanks recently authored the cover article in the Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Forum.  The article, which analyzes the significant adverse environmental impacts of a heavily subsidized industrial agriculture system, was selected as the top article published by ELI during the past year and was reproduced in this special summer reading issue of the Environmental Forum.  The article can be downloaded free of charge at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1636025.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Plaintiffs Win Suit Against Jetskis In National Parks

Yesterday Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that the Park Service violated federal law in deciding to allow unlimited Jetski use in two national parks – Gulf Islands National Seashore (in Florida and Mississippi) and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (in Michigan).   Finding that the “serenity, the tranquility – indeed, the majesty – of these two national treasures” is being compromised by “these highly polluting and noisy vehicles,” the court remanded the matter to the agency to reconsider whether to allow Jetski use to continue in these Parks.  A copy of the Court’s 88 page Opinion is here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Queen Anne's Conservation Association Succeeds In Preventing Massive Quasi-Military Facility On Maryland's Eastern Shore

Queen Anne’s Conservation Association ("QACA") has won a resounding victory against the Department of State and the General Services Administration in its efforts to stop the construction of a massive quasi-military training facility in Queen Anne’s County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. After we represented QACA in securing a stipulated Court Order directing the rapid release of information under the Freedom of Information Act and QACA also built a coordinated campaign to inform the public of the facility’s impacts and develop political opposition to the facility, the government announced its intention not to construct the facility in Queen Anne’s County.

Sierra Club Wins Challenge To Cypress Creek Town Center And Judge Finds That Corps's Violation Of Clean Water Act Is Part Of Pattern

The Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Clean Water Action, and several individuals have won a major victory in their challenge to a Clean Water Act ("CWA") section 404 dredge and fill permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of Cypress Creek Town Center, a massive development slated for construction and threatening important wildlife habitat, wetlands, and Tampa’s drinking water supply. In a decision with broad ramifications, the Court concluded that the permit violated the CWA and NEPA, finding that the Corps, as part of a larger ongoing pattern of non-enforcement of its obligations under the CWA, had allowed data to be manipulated in an attempt to justify an unlawful permit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Agreement Reached To Protect Sea Turtles From Oil Spill Response Burns

Conservation and animal welfare organizations have struck an interim agreement with BP and the Coast Guard to expeditiously develop mandatory protocols for including qualified independent observers on each burn team following specified sea turtle, search, rescue, and rehabilitation practices.  Such protocols will ensure to the greatest extent possible that the risk to endangered and threatened sea turtles is minimized before burns are ignited by making sure the turtles are located and removed before the burns are ignited, and will also increase the information collection process on wildlife being affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its cleanup efforts.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lawsuit Filed and Emergency Relief Requested Over BP's and Coast Guard's Burning of Sea Turtles in the Gulf

Yesterday, our firm filed suit on behalf of several conservation and animal welfare organizations in federal district court in New Orleans challenging BP's and the Coast Guard's oil spill response practice of controlled burning, which is killing federally listed sea turtles helplessly caught in these "burn boxes." Plaintiffs have moved for a temporary restraining order to immediately modify this practice by requiring defendants to adopt certain measures to eliminate the risk of unlawful sea turtle mortalities and injuries while also having no appreciable adverse effect on defendants' oil containment efforts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Environmentalists Challenge Botched Wildlife Review of Offshore Wind Power Project

On behalf of a coalition of nine individuals and environmental organizations, we filed a lawsuit last week in federal district court alleging that the Minerals Management Service and other officials in the U.S. Department of Interior violated wildlife and environmental laws in granting Cape Wind Associates permission to build 130 wind turbines in federal waters off the Massachusetts coast. Our complaint argues that allowing the project to go forward without further review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act risks grave harm to Roseate Terns, Piping Plovers, other migratory birds, and the critically imperiled North Atlantic Right Whale.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bill Eubanks To Speak At Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Regulatory Attorneys, June 23, 2010

William Eubanks will be speaking at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Regulatory Attorneys on Wednesday, June 23 at 11:00 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, West Virginia.  The focus of the discussion will be the recent decision in Animal Welfare Institute v. Beech Ridge Energy, 675 F. Supp.2d 540 (D. Md. 2009), where a federal judge enjoined the majority of construction and operation of an industrial wind energy facility under the Endangered Species Act because such activities, in the absence of an incidental take permit, would unlawfully kill and injure federally endangered Indiana bats.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summary Judgment Brief Filed in Challenge to Flying Squirrel’s Delisting

On behalf of Friends of Blackwater, the Center for Biological Diversity, and others, we recently filed for summary judgment in a suit challenging the decision of the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel from the protections of the Endangered Species Act.  The Service had delisted the Squirrel despite the fact that the agency had not satisfied the requirements of its own formal recovery plan for the subspecies.  Our brief seeks to reinstate protections for the imperiled Squirrel.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meyer To Speak At DC Animal Law Night, June 3, 2010

Katherine Meyer will be speaking on a panel for the DC Animal Law Night, June 3, 2010, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., George Washington University Law School, Faculty Conference Center, 5th Floor, 716 20th Street, N.W. Also on the panel are Lisa LaFontaine, President and Chief Executive Officer, Washington Humane Society; Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel, Compassion Over Killing; and Bernard Unti, Senior Policy Adviser and Special Assistant to the President, The Humane Society of the U.S. The panel will discuss various animal law topics with a focus on local D.C. issues. The event is free to the public.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

D.C. Circuit Grants Motion To Dismiss Hunters’ Appeal Of Antelope Decision

Earlier today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted our motion to dismiss an appeal by the Exotic Wildlife Association challenging a decision issued last year by Judge Henry Kennedy of the U.S. District Court for D.C. that held unlawful a Fish and Wildlife Service regulation that allowed the “canned hunting” of captive members of three antelope species that are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  We represented a coalition of conservation and animal protection groups and individuals in the challenge to the rule, and successfully argued that the rule violated the requirements of Section 10 of the ESA.     

Monday, May 17, 2010

ESA Notice Letter Sent Regarding The Proposed Highland Wind Project

Last Friday, a coalition of conservation organizations and concerned citizens sent a notice letter to Highland New Wind Development and the Highland County Board of Supervisors notifying both entities that the construction and operation of the proposed wind project in Highland County, Virginia is virtually certain to kill and/or injure federally endangered Indiana bats and Virginia big-eared bats in the absence of an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Article Published on Hunting on National Park Service Lands

The current issue of the New York University Environmental Law Journal features a note by Jessica Almy, an associate at Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, entitled “Taking Aim at Hunting on National Park Service Lands.”  18 N.Y.U. Envtl. L.J. 184 (2010).  The article, authored while Jessica was a law student, argues that hunting is contrary to the National Park Service’s conservation mandate and thus should only be allowed where the activity is authorized by Congress and will not result in the impairment of wildlife or natural resources.  The note is available online from the NYU Environmental Law Journal.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Summary Judgment Brief Filed In Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow Critical Habitat Suit

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC and others we recently filed for summary judgment in a suit seeking critical habitat protection for the highly imperiled Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.  Although the Fish and Wildlife Service has long recognized that the particular habitat at issue – occupied habitat west of Shark River Slough in south Florida – is absolutely essential to the species’ survival and recovery, the agency inexplicably excluded the area in its most recent critical habitat decision.

The brief is attached.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Settlement Reached Over Coal-Fired Power Plant Financing Records

On behalf of the Sierra Club, we recently settled a Freedom of Information Act case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the USDA and the Rural Utilities Service, whereby the government provided numerous records previously withheld from public disclosure regarding federal financing and subsidizing of new coal-fired power plants in Texas and Kentucky.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amicus Brief Filed in Supreme Court NEPA Case

On behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Center for Biological Diversity, we have filed an amicus brief in a case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court raising significant questions concerning the standards and process for obtaining injunctive relief in cases arising under the National Environmental Policy Act.  A copy of the brief is here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Challenge to FDA’s Delay On Non-animal testing petition

Today we filed a case in federal district court in D.C. against the Food and Drug Administration challenging its unreasonable delay in responding to a November 2007 rulemaking petition by a coalition of animal protection groups called “The Mandatory Alternatives (MAP) Coalition.”  The petition asks the FDA to promulgate regulations that would require manufacturers of drugs and medical devices to use alternative non-animal tests, when feasible, to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of their drugs and medical devices.  Animal tests, which costs millions of dollars, often do not produce valid or otherwise usable data, yet inflict excruciating pain and suffering on their animal subjects.   The requested regulation would bring the U.S. in line with the European Union which since 1986 has required the use of non-animal testing.  Read the Complaint. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal Welcomes New Receptionist LeBaron Frost

Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal is pleased to announce that LeBaron Frost has joined the firm as our receptionist/secretary.  Bessie Smith, who had been the Firm receptionist/secretary for more than 15 years, has retired and we wish her all the best. Welcome aboard LeBaron.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Public Health Groups Ask The Supreme Court To Hear Tobacco Appeal

On behalf of six major public health organizations – Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network – we have filed a Petition for Certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in the long-running litigation brought by the Department of Justice over the cigarette companies’ violations of civil RICO.  In 2005, our clients were granted intervention to advocate for the most effective remedies to redress the companies’ misconduct.  Although in 2006 the trial court ruled that the companies engaged in a decades-long fraud concerning the health effects of smoking and the nature of nicotine, in May 2009 the D.C. Circuit concluded that the trial court has no authority under RICO to remedy this misconduct by requiring the companies to give up their unlawful profits, or fund programs to help addicted smokers quit smoking.  We, and the government, have asked the Supreme Court to accept the case to reverse this decision, and rule that the trial court has broad authority to impose appropriate remedies to address the effects of the tobacco companies’ fraud.  A copy of the Petition is here. 

Sierra Club et al Moves for Summary Judgment in Cypress Creek Town Center case

Plaintiffs Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network and Clean Water Action have completed summary judgment briefing challenging the construction of the Cypress Creek Town Center in Pasco County, Florida, asserting that the town center will degrade Cypress Creek, designated an Outstanding Florida Water, destroy occupied habitat for the federally listed Wood Stork and Eastern Indigo Snake, and sever a critical wildlife linkage traversing the site.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Opening Brief Filed In First Circuit Canada Lynx Appeal

Today, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine filed their opening brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  The appeal challenges a lower court decision that found a substantive violation of the Endangered Species Act’s strict prohibition on “taking” members of listed species, but failed to craft any declaratory or injunctive relief to remedy the violation.  The lower court’s unprecedented result has sanctioned unlawful conduct by the defendant in the case, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, effectively giving the defendant a green light to run roughshod over the Act’s mandates.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Plaintiffs Appeal Ringling Brothers Decision

On January 25, 2010, the plaintiffs filed an appeal of the district court’s standing decision in their case against the Ringling Bros. circus.  ASPCA et al. v. Feld Entertainment, Inc., No. 10-7007 (D.C. Cir. 2010).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Conservation Groups Win Battle Over Everglades Mining Permits

Capping our eight-year legal battle on behalf of the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council over  Corps of Engineers permits authorizing the destruction of thousands of acres of ecologically valuable wetlands immediately adjacent to Everglades National Park, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed a ruling by federal district Judge William Hoeveler that the permits were issued in violation of the Clean Water Act and that the destructive mining – which is also occurring in close proximity to the principal drinking water supply for Miami-Dade county – should not proceed at least until the Corps applies a far more environmentally protective standard.  Download the Court of Appeals’ opinion here.      

Monday, January 11, 2010

Environmentalists Make a Stand for the Northern Spotted Owl

On behalf of Conservation Congress, we sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue two federal agencies for their repeated violations of the Endangered Species Act. Our detailed letter, sent last week, outlines how the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service have repeatedly allowed the take of Northern Spotted Owls and destruction of their critical habitat in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest without considering the overall impact on the Owl’s ability to survive and recover. Download Conservation Congress’s press release here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Judge Issues Decision in Ringling Brothers Case

On December 30, 2009, Judge Sullivan issued a decision granting judgment for the defendant in the Ringling Bros. case, ASPCA et al. v. Feld Entertainment, Civ. No. 03-2006 (D.D.C.) on the grounds that the plaintiffs lack Article III standing. Because the Judge found that he lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, he did not address the merits of our claims.