Thursday, May 30, 2013

Preliminary Injunction Filed To Prevent Harm To Cliff Swallows Until Highway Agencies Comply With Federal Law

Earlier this week, along with co-counsel from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we filed a preliminary injunction before Judge Jon Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking to halt bridge construction affecting a sizeable colony of Cliff Swallows, until and unless the agencies comply with their duties under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”).  The agencies have never in any NEPA review subject to public participation considered or analyzed the impacts of exclusionary netting and other activities on this swallow colony, which has already resulted in many dozens of killed, injured, and captured swallows and other migratory birds, nor have the agencies obtained authorization for their harmful activities under the MBTA.  The preliminary injunction motion and memorandum can be found here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lawsuit Filed To Protect Cliff Swallows And Other Birds From Death And Injury In California

On Friday, along with lawyers from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking to protect Cliff Swallows that nest on two bridges from continued death, injury, and entanglement due to exclusionary netting placed on the bridges by the California Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration as part of their Highway 101 widening project in the Marin-Sonoma Narrows.  Over the past two months, more than one hundred Swallows have been killed or injured as a result of the netting, and other birds have also been killed, but the agencies have not obtained authorization for those actions under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The agencies also never analyzed the impacts of this project or the exclusionary netting on Cliff Swallows in general or the Cliff Swallows that nest on these two bridges in particular, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.  The complaint can be found here, and the press release here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Lawsuit Filed To Curtail ORV Use To Protect Fragile Resources Of Big Cypress National Preserve

In a new chapter to the decades-old saga of off-road vehicle (“ORV”) management in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, we filed suit this week on behalf of a coalition of national and regional conservation organizations challenging the National Park Service’s creation of a massive network of secondary ORV trails in violation of the Preserve’s management plan and various federal environmental laws.  Park Service officials have long acknowledged the devastating impacts of rampant ORV use on the Preserve’s sensitive soils, vegetation, hydrological patterns, and wildlife (which includes the highly endangered Florida panther, among other federally listed species), but the Service has nevertheless authorized an extensive off-road vehicle network that caters to recreational ORV users at the expense of these vulnerable resources.  The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, where four previous related lawsuits have been filed.  The complaint is here and a press release concerning the new case is here

Friday, May 10, 2013

Notice of Appeal Filed in Case To Protect Rock Creek Park Deer

Today, on behalf of a coalition of local DC residents and In Defense of Animals, we filed a Notice of Appeal of the district court’s ruling upholding the National Park Service’s decision to allow sharpshooters to decimate native deer in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC.  This is the first time in the 123 year history of the Park that the federal government has allowed the killing of any native wildlife. 

The number of deer in Rock Creek Park has been stable for at least ten years, and there is no urgent problem facing the Park that would warrant gunning down native wildlife in close proximity to residential neighborhoods.  Even if there were a problem, it could be handled much more humanely with fertility control – a method that has worked to control wild deer and horses in other parts of the county.  A petition asking the National Park Service to reconsider this shotgun approach to managing RockCreek Park has garnered more than 5,000 signatures.