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Titlesort descending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Friends of Animals v. Clay 811 F.3d 94 (2d Cir. 2016) 2016 WL 305359 (2d Cir. Jan. 26, 2016) Friends of Animals (“FOA”) appeals an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York granting summary judgment in favor of defendants-appellees William Clay in his official capacity as a Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture-APHIS and the FWS. FOA challenged FWS's issuance of a “depredation permit” to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorizing the emergency “take” of migratory birds that threaten to interfere with aircraft at JFK Airport. FOA argues that FWS's own regulations unambiguously prohibit it from issuing such a permit and that the permit should therefore be set aside as the product of agency action that was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The District Court granted summary judgment for defendant FWS. On appeal, this court affirmed that ruling. FOA pointed out that the "emergency take" regulation at 50 C.F.R. § 21.41 does not authorize FWS to issue a permit that allows the emergency take of a migratory bird irrespective of its species, but instead requires a "species-specific" inquiry. However, this court disagreed, finding that "§ 21.41 does not place Port Authority officials in the untenable position of having to choose between violating federal law and deliberately ignoring serious threats to human safety." Further, the court found the specific requirements in § 21.41 concern only applicants seeking a permit and not the FWS itself. In this situation, the court found the 2014 permit's emergency-take provision satisfied § 21.41. The District Court's order was affirmed. Case
Fund for Animals v. Kempthorne 538 F.3d 124 (C.A.2 (N.Y.),2008) 2008 WL 3542887

The Fund for Animals and others brought an action challenging public resource depredation order (PRDO) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning a species of migratory bird known as the double-crested cormorant. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment, finding that the depredation order did not violate MBTA because the Order restricts the species, locations, and means by which takings could occur, thereby restricting the discretion exercised by third parties acting under the Order. Further, the depredation order did not conflict with international treaties (specifically the Mexico Convention) because the Treaty only mandates a close season only for game birds, which the parties agree do not include cormorants. Finally, the agency's adoption of the order was not arbitrary and capricious and complied with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Hogan 428 F.3d 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2005) 368 U.S.App.D.C. 238 (D.C. Cir 2005)

The Fund for Animals petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list as endangered the trumpeter swans living in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.  The Fish and Wildlife Service denied the petition without giving a good explanation why, so the Fund for Animals sued.  The court found that because the Fish and Wildlife Service had subsequently provided a letter finding that the swans were not "markedly separated from other populations" and were part of the Rocky Mountain population, which was growing in numbers, the FWS had provided a sufficient explanation and the case against it was therefore moot. 

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Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Kempthorne 472 F.3d 872 (D.C. Cir. 2006) 2006 WL 3687107 (D.C. Cir.)

A government agency was killing mute swans, because of their impact on the environment, and the plaintiffs sued, alleging that this action violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (that implements international treaties the United States has with Canada and Mexico). The Court found that the government agency may kill mute swans because the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act, implemented in 2004, modified the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to allow for the killing of non-native birds. Mute swans are non-native to the United States because they were brought over from Europe.

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Hill v. Norton 275 F.3d 98 (D.C. Cir. 2001) 53 ERC 2038, 348 U.S.App.D.C. 319, 32 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,437 (2001)

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act ("MBTA"), 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712 (2000), extends protection to all birds covered by four migratory bird treaties, which, in relevant part, define migratory birds to include the family Anatidae (which includes the mute swan).  Under the authority, delegated by Congress the Secretary of the Interior has published lists of protected migratory birds.  The instant case arose when appellant Joyce Hill filed a law suit pro se in District Court claiming that the Secretary's regulation violated the MBTA in excluding mute swans from the List of Migratory Birds promulgated at 50 C.F.R. § 10.13 (2000). The District Court rejected Hill's claim and granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary.  In reversing the the District Court's decision, the court found that the Secretary pointed to nothing in the statute, applicable treaties, or administrative record that justified the exclusion of mute swans from the List of Migratory Birds.  It also ordered the Secretary's List of Migratory Birds, codified at 50 C.F.R. § 10.13, insofar as the list excludes mute swans, to be vacated.  This case more or less set the stage for the revisions to the MBTA in 2004 by Congress's passing of the MBTRA.

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Horen v. Commonwealth 479 S.E. 2d 553 (Va. 1997)

Native American medicine woman and her husband convicted of illegally possessing wild bird feathers in violation of Virginia statute.  The Virginia Court of Appeals held that the statute violates RFRA because it does not provide a scheme to possess feathers for religious purposes, as it does for other purposes.  Thus, the statute was not religiously neutral because it discriminated based on content and the state did not employ the least restrictive means in advancing its compelling interest.  For further discussion on the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

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Jaeger v. Cellco Partnership Slip Copy, 2010 WL 965730 (D.Conn.,2010)

The Connecticut Siting Council granted Cellco Partnership a Certificate allowing the company to build a cell tower in Falls Village, Connecticut.   Dina Jaeger brought suit against Cellco and the Council to prevent the building of the cell tower.   In her complaint, Jaeger cited the harmful effects of radio frequency emissions (RF emissions), and alleged violations of the International Migratory Bird Treaty, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), the Telecommunications Act (TCA), and the 10 th and 14 th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.   Defendants moved to dismiss Jaeger's claims on various grounds, including that the Council was preempted from considering the environmental effects of RF emissions under the TCA.   The Court found in favor of the Defendants, holding that the TCA preempts local and state regulation of cell towers solely on the basis of RF emissions.    

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Missouri v. Holland 40 S.Ct. 382 (1920) 252 U.S. 416 (1920)

This was a bill in equity brought by the State of Missouri to prevent a game warden of the United States from attempting to enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of July 3, 1918, c. 128, 40 Stat. 755, and the regulations made by the Secretary of Agriculture in pursuance of the same. The ground of the bill is that the statute is an unconstitutional interference with the rights reserved to the States by the Tenth Amendment.  While the court recognized the states' province to act in traditional matters of fish and game, the migratory nature of wild birds makes them the proper subject of treaty.  As noted by the Court, "[t]he subject matter is only transitorily within the State and has no permanent habitat therein."  The Court found the treaty was a proper exercise of constitutional authority where a national interest was implicated (i.e., "the protectors of our forests and our crops") and could only be protected by national action in concert with another power.

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National Audubon Society, Inc. v. Davis 312 F.3d 416 (9th Cir. 2002) 2 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 11,826

This order accompanies the Ninth Circuit's decision in National Audubon v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835 (9th Cir. 2002).

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Newton County Wildlife Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Service 113 F.3d 110 (8th Cir. 1997) 44 ERC 201728, Envtl. L. Rep. 20, 020 Newton County Wildlife Association sued the United States Forest Service seeking judicial review of four timber sales in the Ozark National Forest. The Wildlife Association filed sequential motions to preliminarily enjoin the sales as violative of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The district court1 separately denied each motion, and the Wildlife Association separately appealed those orders. The Court held that because the Forest Service may limit WSRA plans to lands lying within designated river segments, failure to timely prepare the Plans cannot be a basis for enjoining timber sales on lands lying outside any designated area. With respect to the MBTA, the Court held that "it would stretch this 1918 statute far beyond the bounds of reason to construe it as an absolute criminal prohibition on conduct, such as timber harvesting, that indirectly results in the death of migratory birds." Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's denial of injunctive relief. Case

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