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Defenders of Wildlife v. Bernal

204 F.3d 920 (2000)

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Defenders of Wildlife v. Bernal

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

204 F.3d 920 (2000)

Facts

The Amphitheater School District (school district) (defendant) was a school district in Tucson, Arizona, that needed to build a new high school. The school district acquired a 73-acre piece of property for the new school site. After the school district had purchased the property, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a rule that placed the pygmy owl on the endangered species list under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FWS’s final rule on the pygmy owl identified the types of land that amounted to critical habitats for the owl. The school site included 30 acres of land that fit into this critical-habitat criteria. Although the school district had originally planned to develop part of those 30 acres in building the school, the district adjusted their plans and acquired more adjacent property so that the 30 acres that amounted to owl critical habitat could remain undeveloped. When the school district began to move forward with the development of the school site, the Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders) (plaintiff) sued the school district in federal court, alleging that the proposed construction amounted to a taking of the pygmy owl in violation of the ESA. After granting a temporary injunction against development of the school site, the district court eventually held for the school district, denying the Defenders’ request for a permanent injunction and lifting the temporary injunction. The Defenders appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hug, C.J.)

Concurrence (Fletcher, J.)

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