Northern Spotted Owl v. Hodel

716 F. Supp. 479 (1988)

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Northern Spotted Owl v. Hodel

United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
716 F. Supp. 479 (1988)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

The northern spotted owl maintained its habitat in old-growth forests, which, over the years, had been harvested and diminished. By the 1980s, the majority of old-growth owl habitat was on public land available for harvest. In 1987, pursuant to citizen petitions, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (defendant) undertook proceedings to decide whether to list the northern spotted owl as an endangered or a threatened species in forested areas of Washington and Oregon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FWS collected expert analyses, all of which were in favor of listing the species as threatened or endangered. The FWS issued a decision not to list the owl as endangered, stating that a listing was “not warranted” at the time. The FWS made no express finding as to whether the owl was threatened. A group of environmental organizations (plaintiffs) sued the FWS, challenging the listing decision as arbitrary and capricious.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Zilly, J.)

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