Environmental groups see the Interior Department’s proposed protection of the emperor penguin—a bird that exists only in Antarctica—under the Endangered Species Act as leverage against future U.S. oil and gas development.
Legally, however, any federal effort to use the penguin’s plight to completely block an oil project faces long odds, attorneys say.
It will be challenging to link an oil and gas field contributing to climate change “to any measurable or quantifiable impact on a species in a way that the ESA regulates species,” said Brooke Marcus, a natural resources lawyer and partner Nossaman LLP in Austin.
Interior’s U.S. Fish ...