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Titlesort descending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Palila v. Hawaii Dep't of Land & Natural Resources 639 F.2d 495 (9th Cir. 1981)

The action alleged that defendants, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and chairman, violated the Endangered Species Act by maintaining feral sheep and goats in an endangered bird's critical habitat. Defendant had maintained feral sheep and goats within the critical habitat of the endangered palila bird. The practice degraded the bird's habitat. The court upheld summary judgment for the plaintiff, finding that maintenance of the herd constituted a taking under the Act.

Case
Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell 825 F.3d 571 (9th Cir. 2016) 2016 WL 3165630 (9th Cir. June 7, 2016) In this case, various environmental groups filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of the Interior, arguing that the BLM should not have granted right-of-way on federal lands to a proposed energy project because the project would violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The plaintiffs also argued that the BLM’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project was not sufficient according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Ultimately, the court held in favor of the defendants and found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA and that by granting the right-of-way, BLM was not violation the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The court found that the EIS was sufficient under the NEPA because it included all the necessary information and was broad enough as to not force the BLM into automatically accepting the proposal. Additionally, the court held that the BLM was not in violation of the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act because the BLM was acting in a “purely regulatory capacity” and the BLM’s action could directly or proximately cause a violation under the MBTA or the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Case
Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell 2014 WL 1364453 (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.) The Protect our Communities Foundation challenged the Bureau of Land Management's Record of Decision authorizing development of a utility-scale wind energy facility on public lands in San Diego County, arguing that BLM's approval of a right-of-way violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagles Protection Act. The Court found that BLM did consider several alternatives to the proposed Project, took a "hard look" at the environmental consequences, and did not improperly defer specification and analysis of mitigation measures. The Court also held that Federal agencies are not required to obtain a permit before acting in a regulatory capacity to authorize activity, such as development of a wind-energy facility, that may incidentally harm protected birds. The Court denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted the defendants' cross motions for summary judgment. Case
Protect our Communities Foundation v. Salazar 2013 WL 5947137 (Only the Westlaw citation is currently available.) The Protect Our Communities Foundation filed a complaint challenging the United States Department of the Interior's approval of the Record of Decision approving a utility-scale wind power project arguing that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). But the Court held that the Department discussed reasonable alternatives, that the Decision was not an arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion, and that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that a permit was required under the MBTA for an unintentional killing of migratory birds. Case
State v. Troyer (Unpublished) 1997 WL 760954(Ohio App. 9 Dist.,1997) (unpublished) Defendant was convicted of killing a non-game bird (owl) while defending his collection of exotic and native birds.  The court finds that defendant rightfully engaged in conduct to defend his property against depredation by owls.  The court carefully notes the owl is an abundant species in Ohio, and that the burden on the property owner would be greater if the species at issue were endangered or threatened, like an eagle. Case
Steiner v. U.S. 229 F.2d 745 (9th Cir. 1956)

Defendants were charged with knowingly and willfully, with intent to defraud the United States, smuggling and clandestinely introducing into the United States merchandise, namely, psittacine birds, which should have been invoiced; by fraudulently and knowingly importing merchandise and by knowingly receiving, concealing and facilitating the transportation and concealment of such merchandise after importation, knowing the same to have been imported into the United States contrary to law.  Appellants contend that the birds mentioned in count 1 were not merchandise, within the meaning of 18 U.S.C.A. § 545. The court found there was no merit in this contention.  Further, this importation subjected defendants to the felony provision of the Lacey Act and defendants were properly sentenced under the felony conspiracy portion of the Act.

Case
Turtle Island Restoration Project v. U.S. Department of Commerce 438 F.3d 937 (9th Cir. 2006)

Environmental Groups sued the National Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the United States Department of Commerce for making regulations which allowed swordfish longline fishing along the Hawaii coast, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Court found that because the regulations were made under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (Magnuson Act), and because that Act had a 30-day time limit for when challenges to regulations could be made, the environmental groups has not brought their challenge to the regulations in time.

Case
U.S. v. Abbate 439 F.Supp.2d 625 (E.D.La., 2006) 2006 WL 1968931 (E.D.La.)

Before the Court is the appeal of Frank J. Abbate, Jr.from a misdemeanor conviction for violating a provision of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act ("MBTA") after a Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife agent witnessed Abbate illegally taking or attempting to take wood ducks after legal shooting hours. At trial, appellant was found guilty of the offense charged and sentenced him to a two-year term of probation. As a special condition, the magistrate ordered that appellant pay a fine of $500 and refrain from hunting birds during the probationary period. Appellant petitions this Court to review his portrayal of the facts and reconsider the credibility of the witnesses and evidence in light of the arguments and allegations presented in his appellate brief. However, rules of procedure governing this appeal preclude appellant from receiving a trial de novo. Accordingly, this Court cannot consider new facts which appellant did not allege at trial and disregarded appellant's arguments which raise conflict over the weight and credibility of testimony. With regard to sentencing, the court found that the magistrate properly exercised his discretion where appellant had a prior conviction under the MBTA for illegal hunting and the revocation of his hunting license would properly prevent future MBTA violations.

Case
U.S. v. Apollo Energies, Inc. 611 F.3d 679 (C.A.10 (Kan.), 2010) 2010 WL 2600502 (C.A.10 (Kan.))

Appellants, Apollo Energies, Inc. and Dale Walker, were charged with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act after an agent with the USFWS discovered dead migratory birds lodged in each appellant's "heater-treater," a piece of equipment used in the course of appellants' Kansas oil drilling businesses, on several occasions. At trial, both Apollo and Walker were convicted of  misdemeanor violations for "taking" or "possessing" migratory birds. On appeal, Apollo and Walker contested that (1) the MBTA is not a strict liability crime or, (2) if it is a strict liability crime, the MBTA is unconstitutional as applied to their conduct. Bound by a previous holding that found misdemeanor violations of the MBTA are strict liability crimes, the court concluded that the MBTA includes no mens rea requirement. As to Appellants' second contention challenging the constitutionality of the Act, the court concluded that while the Act is not unconstitutionally vague, "the MBTA requires a defendant to proximately cause the statute's violation for the statute to pass constitutional muster.

Case
U.S. v. Brigham Oil and Gas, L.P. 840 F. Supp. 2d 1202, 1203 (D.N.D. 2012), appeal dismissed (Apr. 18, 2012) The Government charged Brigham Oil & Gas, L.P.with “taking” (killing) two migratory birds found dead near one of its reserve pits. But, the Court found that the use of reserve pits in commercial oil development is legal, commercially-useful activity that stands outside the reach of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Therefore, the Court held that the oil and gas companies' use of reserve pits did not violate Migratory Bird Treaty Act's prohibition against taking of protected birds, since death or injury was not intentional, and grated the defendant's motion to dismiss. Case

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