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Environmental Regulations

Pacific Legal Foundation has been the preeminent force in the nation’s courts to address abuses of the Endangered Species Act. This year, the Act will mark 40 years as one of the nation’s most powerful environmental laws.   Because PLF’s litigation seeks a balanced approach to environmental regulations — like the ESA, we’re taking the opportunity to examine aspects of the law, with particular emphasis on past and current cases we’ve litigated. Visit our special ESA at 40 landing page.


CARF Environmental Regulations Image

Bureaucrats illegally drain the life out of private hatcheries and fishing ponds

Safari Club International v. Jewell

The California Department of Fish and Game is moving forward with significant restrictions on fish stocking companies – including hatcheries and private fishing lakes and ponds – that threaten their ability to stay in business. The regulations are based on the very unscientific premise that stocked fish always and everywhere have negative effects on indigenous species and habitat. Read more

PLF challenges polar bear listing

PLF challenges unwarranted polar bear listing

California Cattlemen's Association v. Kempthorne

On October 2, 2008, PLF filed a complaint in the federal District Court of the District of Columbia challenging the listing of the polar bear as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act. PLF represents a wide spectrum of small businesses, food producers, family farmers, property owners, employers and consumers as well as the poor and minorities nationwide who would be harmed by restrictive regulations that will likely result from the polar bear listing. Read more

Managing Sea Otters

Managing sea otters — and overreaching bureaucrats

California Sea Urchin Commission, California Abalone Association, California Lobster and Trap Fishermen’s Association, and Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara v. Jacobson

Concerned that oil spills threatened to wipe out the sea otter through its entire range, the Service sought permission from Congress to create an experimental population of otters that would be located on San Nicholas Island, which could be used to repopulate the range in the event of an oil spill.  The Service needed express authorization from Congress to implement this program, which it received.  Read more

Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Fighting unnecessary regulatory restrictions on forest road maintenance

Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) brought suit in federal District Court in Oregon against the State of Oregon and several timber companies, alleging that the State and timber company defendants had violated the Clean Water Act by discharging, as part of their forest road construction and maintenance, stormwater into jurisdictional waters without a required permit. Read more

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. PR case image

Feds’ treatment of Drakes Bay oyster farm was fishy

Drakes Bay Oyster Company v. Salazar

Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s operations are carried out under a Reservation of Use and Occupancy from the National Park Service that began in 1972, and was set to expire on November 30, 2012. The Reservation of Use and Occupancy provided that the Park Service could issue a Special Use Permit to allow Drakes Bay Oyster Company to continue operations after that date. Read more

Friends of Tahoe Forest image

Feds are foes to recreational forest access

Friends of Tahoe Forest Access v. United States Department of Agriculture

PLF attorneys represent Friends of Tahoe Forest Access and other recreational enthusiasts in challenging the United States Forest Service's illegal decision to bar recreational vehicles from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of roads and trails in the Tahoe National Forest that were previously open to off-road enthusiasts. Read more

 Dusky Frog - Markle

“Critical habitat” decree opens the way for limitless federal land grabs

Markle Interests, LLC v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Can federal officials label private property as “critical habitat” for an endangered species, when the land is acknowledged not to be usable for the species, and may never be usable habitat? Read more

The Elderberry Longhorn Beetle doesn’t belong on any ESA list

North Sacramento Land Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Pacific Legal Foundation litigation has compelled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue by September 28, 2012, the determination on whether the Valley elderberry longhorn beetle should be removed from the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list. Read more

Prairie Dog - PLF ESA case in Utah

Harmful prairie dog regs bore holes in the Constitution

People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Does the United States Fish and Wildlife Service have authority to list the Utah prairie dog under the Endangered Species Act? Representing the Town of Paragonah, Utah, PLF attorneys argue that it does not. Because the Utah prairie dog is found only in Utah and has no commercial value, federal regulation of this species exceeds Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Read more

Sackett Environmental Regulations Image

PLF and the Sacketts: an important win at the Supreme Court

Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

In an unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court rules that landowners have a right to direct, meaningful judicial review if the EPA effectively seizes control of their property by declaring it to be "wetlands." The Court rules in favor of PLF clients Mike and Chantell Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, who were told by EPA -- and by the Ninth Circuit -- that they could not get direct court review of EPA's claim that their two-thirds of an acre parcel is "wetlands" and that they must obey a detailed and instrusive EPA "compliance" order, or be hit with fines of up to $75,000 per day. Read more

Kings Bay

The feds must follow their own scientific finding — and “downlist” the manatee

Save Crystal River, Inc. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In this action, PLF attorneys represent Save Crystal River, Inc., a nonprofit coalition and partnership of friends, neighbors, young parents, retirees, career professionals, business owners, residents, and community leaders who are united in their commitment to maintain and protect the unique quality of life for all people in the community of Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida. Read more

Frankie and Peter Smith, PLF environmental clients

Seeking judicial review of "wetlands" designations

Smith v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

Peter and Françoise Smith own and live on property in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which contains a dry arroyo or creek bed. After a neighbor complained about the Smiths removing some scrub vegetation from the arroyo, the Army Corps of Engineers initiated an investigation and issued a Jurisdictional Determination claiming that it has regulatory control over the arroyo, under the Clean Water Act. Read more

Stewart and Jasper Dust Bowl image

Water cutoff for Delta smelt is illegal

Stewart and Jasper Orchards v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In a misguided scheme to help a fish that's on the Endangered Species Act list—the delta smelt—federal restrictions have severely cut the pumping into the water system that serves millions of people in Central and Southern California. Read more

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