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Arizona Cattle Growers' Association v. Salazar

606 F.3d 1160 (2010)

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Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

606 F.3d 1160 (2010)

Facts

In 1993, the Mexican spotted owl was listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (defendant) designated critical habitat for the owl. The FWS applied the baseline approach to its economic analysis. Under the baseline approach, any economic impacts of protecting the owl that would occur regardless of the critical-habitat designation, particularly the burdens imposed by the listing decision, were treated as part of the regulatory baseline and were not factored into the economic analysis of the effects of the critical-habitat designation. Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association (Arizona Cattle) (plaintiff) challenged the FWS’s determination of the economic impacts of the designation. Arizona Cattle argued that the FWS’s use of the baseline approach was impermissible, and it did not account for the economic impacts of the critical-habitat designation that were not attributable to the listing decision. Arizona Cattle argued that the FWS should use the coextensive approach to economic analysis and ignore the protection of a species that results from the listing decision when considering whether to designate an area as a critical habitat. Under the coextensive approach, any economic burden that designating an area would cause must be counted in the economic analysis, even if the same burden was already imposed by listing the species and would exist even if the area were not designated. The district court rejected Arizona Cattle’s argument for the coextensive approach and granted the FWS’s motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)

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