Monday, October 22, 2012

Ninth Circuit Rules For Conservation Groups in Pipeline Dispute

In a case we litigated on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and others, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has agreed with our position that the massive Ruby Pipeline Project – a 678-mile natural gas pipeline extending from Wyoming to Oregon – was approved by the federal government in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).   The Court held that the determination by the Fish and Wildlife Service that the pipeline – which crosses 209 rivers and streams that support federally endangered and threatened fish species – will not jeopardize listed species was improperly based on purported protective measures for the species that were set forth in a “conservation plan” that was not enforceable under the ESA.   The Court also held that the Service failed properly to take into consideration the impacts of the project on groundwater resources.  A copy of the ruling is attached here.