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Center For Biological Diversity, et al v. Rebecca M. Blank

April 2, 2013

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
REBECCA M. BLANK, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ACTING SECRETARY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, ET AL., FEDERAL
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Brett Grosko United States District Judge

STIPULATED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND [PROPOSED] ORDER

Plaintiffs, Center for Biological Diversity, et al. ("Plaintiffs"), and Federal Defendants, 13 Rebecca M. Blank, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of 14 Commerce, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Sally Jewell,*fn1 in her official capacity as 15 Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ("Federal 16 Defendants") (collectively, the "Parties"), have agreed to settle the above-captioned case in its 17 entirety on the terms memorialized in this Stipulated Settlement Agreement ("Stipulation"): 18 WHEREAS, on July 28, 1978, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS") and U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service ("NMFS") listed the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) 20

("Loggerhead") as threatened throughout its range pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 21

("ESA"). Listing and Protecting Loggerhead Sea Turtles as "Threatened Species" and 22 23 24 Populations of Green and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles as Threatened Species or "Endangered 2 Species," 43 Fed. Reg. 32,800 (July 28, 1978); 3

Turtle Island Restoration Network ("TIRN") petitioned FWS and NMFS to list the North Pacific 5 population of the Loggerhead as an endangered species pursuant to the ESA and designate 6 critical habitat; 7

WHEREAS, on July 12, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity ("Center") and the

WHEREAS, on November 15, 2007, the Center and Oceana petitioned FWS and NMFS to list the Western North Atlantic population of the Loggerhead as an endangered species under 9 the ESA and designate critical habitat;

WHEREAS, FWS and NMFS published a notice on November 16, 2007, finding that the Center's and TIRN's petition concerning the listing of the North Pacific population of the 13 Loggerhead as an endangered species presented substantial scientific information indicating that 14 the petitioned action may be warranted. 90--day Finding for a Petition to Reclassify the 15 Loggerhead Turtle in the North Pacific Ocean as a Distinct Population Segment with 16 Endangered Status and to Designate Critical Habitat, 72 Fed. Reg. 64,585 (Nov. 16, 2007); 17

WHEREAS, on March 5, 2008, FWS and NMFS published a notice stating that the Center's and Oceana's petition to list the Western North Atlantic population of the Loggerhead 19 as an endangered species presented substantial scientific information indicating that the 20 petitioned action may be warranted. 90--day Finding for a Petition to Reclassify the Loggerhead Turtle in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, 73 Fed. Reg. 11,849 (Mar. 5, 2008); WHEREAS, FWS and NMFS proposed listing nine distinct population segments

("DPSs") of the Loggerhead as threatened or endangered on March 16, 2010, under the ESA. Listing of Nine Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or 2 Threatened, 75 Fed. Reg. 12,598 (Mar. 16, 2010) ("Proposed Listing Rule"); 3 WHEREAS, on June 2, 2010, FWS and NMFS extended the comment period on the Proposed Listing Rule by ninety (90) days, through September 13, 2010, to allow adequate time 5 for the public to review and comment on the Proposed Listing Rule. Proposed Listing of Nine 6 Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened; 7

Extension of Comment Period, 75 Fed. Reg. 30,769 (June 2, 2010);8 9 by which a final determination would be made regarding the Proposed Listing Rule, noting that 10

WHEREAS, on March 22, 2011, FWS and NMFS published a notice extending the date (a) substantial disagreement existed regarding the interpretation of the existing data on 11 12 Loggerhead status and trends and that data's relevance to the assessment of risk of extinction to 13 the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead DPS; and (b) considerable disagreement existed 14 regarding the magnitude and immediacy of the fisheries bycatch threat and measures to reduce 15 this threat to the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Loggerhead DPS. Proposed Listing of Nine Distinct 16

Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened, 76 Fed. Reg. 17 15,932 (Mar. 22, 2011); 18

WHEREAS, on September 22, 2011, FWS and NMFS issued a final rule listing nine DPSs of the Loggerhead as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Determination of Nine 20

Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened, 76 Fed. 21

Reg. 58,868 (Sept. 22, 2011) ("Final Listing Rule"); 22 23 24 determinable at that time, but would be proposed in a separate rulemaking. 76 Fed. Reg. at 25 58,905; 26

WHEREAS in its Final Listing Rule, FWS and NMFS stated that critical habitat was not WHEREAS, on January 8, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint for declaratory and 3 injunctive relief, pursuant to the ESA, challenging FWS's and NMFS's alleged failure to 4 designate critical habitat for ...


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