National Wildlife Federation v. Babbitt
United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
128 F. Supp. 2d 1274 (2000)
The Natomas Basin was a mostly undeveloped 53,000-acre tract of land near Sacramento, California. The Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which was administered by the Natomas Basin Conservancy (NBC), was intended to promote conservation, economic development, and agriculture within the basin. The HCP identified 26 species of animals within the basin that were potentially subject to taking under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and sought to ensure that habitat acquisitions would be provided in advance of habitat conversion for economic development. Habitat acquisitions would be funded by the collection of mitigation fees paid by developers. The HCP concluded that .5 acres of reserve habitat lands for each one acre of developed land would provide sufficient habitat for the protected species. The HCP further concluded that $2,240 per acre would be the maximum practical initial mitigation fee but allowed for increases in the mitigation fee in the future as necessary. However, retroactive increases were not allowed. Based on the HCP, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (defendant) issued an incidental-take permit under the ESA to the City of Sacramento. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit challenging the issuance of the incidental-take permit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Levi, J.)
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