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AMERICAN LANDS ALLIANCE v. NORTON

United States District Court, District of Columbia


January 30, 2003

AMERICAN LANDS ALLIANCE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GALE A. NORTON, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton, United States District Judge

ORDER

Upon consideration of the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, and for the reasons set forth in the Memorandum Opinion accompanying this Order, it is hereby

ORDERED that the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as set forth herein. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants' motion for summary judgment is DENIED. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that the Secretary of the Department of the Interior ("Secretary") and the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS"), in their official capacities, have failed to make the required findings pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1533 (b)(3) (2000) of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"). A hearing shall be held on Friday, February 14, 2003, at 11:00 a.m., for the Court to address when the defendants must comply with their obligation to issue a finding pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1533 (b)(3)(B) and the plaintiffs' request for "reasonable fees, costs, and expenses, including attorneys fees, associated with this litigation" pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1540 (g)(4) (2000). It is

DECLARED and DECREED that the FWS's Petition Management Guidance policy that teats a public petition to list a species under the ESA as "redundant" if the species has already been identified as a "candidate" for listing under the FWS's internal process violates the "notice and comment" provisions of 16 U.S.C. § 1533 (h) of the ESA. It is

DECLARED and DECREED that the FWS's Petition Management Guidance policy that teats a public petition to list a species under the ESA as "redundant" if the species has already been identified as a "candidate" for listing under the FWS's internal process violates 16 U.S.C. § 1533 (b)(3)(B) of the ESA because it allows the defendants to avoid their mandatory, non-discretionary duties to issue findings when public petitions are submitted pursuant to this statute.

SO ORDERED.

20030130

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