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Industry Groups, Red States Seek to Restore Trump Species Rules

July 25, 2022, 3:30 PM

The American Petroleum Institute, American Farm Bureau Federation, and other industry associations joined Republican-led states in seeking reversal of a judge’s decision tossing Trump-era endangered species rules.

The groups and states want the Ninth Circuit to restore rules that changed how agencies classify endangered or threatened species and their habitats under the Endangered Species Act. The Trump administration also changed how agencies worked with each other to reduce harms to listed species.

Returning to pre-2019 regulations would cause confusion and irreparable harm, the groups and states told the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Their arguments failed to sway Judge Jon S. Tigar, who said keeping the rules in place would cause “equal or greater confusion, given the flaws in the drafting and promulgation of those regulations.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service already announced plans to review and revise the species regulations. This “put the public on notice that the regulations’ existence in their current form is unlikely,” Tigar wrote July 5.

Alabama, Alaska, and 11 other states filed their notice of appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit July 21. The Pacific Legal Foundation and Washington Cattlemen’s Association filed a separate notice July 21. The industry groups filed their notice of appeal July 22.

In the meantime, states and industry groups want the lower court to make a speedy decision on their motion for a stay pending their appeal.

The judge’s final decision takes effect Aug. 4 and will subject the states and groups to pre-2019 regulations that were unlawful and that they fought to reform, according to a July 21 filing. They will also be subjected to the regulations without the chance to defend the 2019 rules on the merits or participate in the notice and comment process guaranteed under the Administrative Procedure Act, the filing says.

The intervening states and industry groups will be “required to endure” harms to their “sovereign interests, business activities, and property rights that regime imposed upon them,” they told the court.

The Biden administration doesn’t oppose the motion to decide the stay without oral argument as quickly as possible after Aug. 4, according to the filing. The plaintiffs indicated that they oppose the motion, the filing says. Plaintiffs include the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, California, and other conservation groups and states.

Paul Hastings LLP represents the industry intervenors. FisherBroyles LLP represents Alabama, Alaska, and other intervening states, which are also represented by their respective attorneys general.

Pacific Legal Foundation represents itself and other intervening private landowners. Earthjustice represents the conservation groups, and the National Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity also represent themselves.

The Justice Department represents the federal government.

The California Attorney General’s Office leads the plaintiff states and cities, which are also represented by their respective attorneys general and law departments.

The Sierra Club has received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg.

The case is Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Haaland, N.D. Cal., No. 4:19-cv-05206, 7/22/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maya Earls in Washington at mearls@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com