Environmental Species Act Litigation
Obtained a significant victory for the State of Alaska in an Environmental Species Act litigation focused on the ribbon seal. Judge Laport of the US District Court, Northern California upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service decision that the ribbon seal did not warrant a listing under the ESA. At issue was the size of the ribbon seals’ population and declining habitat. Judge Laporte’s ruling clarifies species classification under the ESA stating that not every climate-imperiled or climate challenged species will warrant listing under the ESA, and listing is determined on a case-by-case basis in which current conditions (population, conditions and prospects), the effects of climate change, and the “foreseeable future” may serve as key determinants.