December 3, 2013
CONSERVATION CONGRESS, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, and the UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, Federal Defendants.
ROBERT G. DREHER, Acting Assistant Attorney General Environment and Natural Resources Division, PAUL D. BARKER, JR., Senior Attorney United States Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Natural Resource Section, Washington, D.C., J. BRETT GROSKO, Trial Attorney United States Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Wildlife and Marine Resources Section Washington, D.C., Attorneys for Defendants
JAMES J. TUTCHTON (CA Bar No. 150908) Tutchton Law Office, LLC, Centennial, CO, STUART NICHOLAS WILCOX (Pro Hac Vice) Stuart Wilcox LLC, Denver, CO, STEVEN SUGARMAN (Pro Hac Vice Application Forthcoming) Cerrillos, New Mexico, Attorneys for Plaintiff
STIPULATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE FEDERAL DEFENDANTS' ANSWER OR RESPONSE TO THE COMPLAINT AND TO POSTPONE THE JOINT STATUS REPORT DEADLINE
JOHN A. MENDEZ, District Judge.
In support of this Stipulation, the parties hereby stipulate and state as follows:
1. In this action, Plaintiff Conservation Congress alleges that Defendants United States Forest Service ("USFS") and United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("USFWS") violated the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Forest Management Act in connection with the Smokey Project on the Mendocino National Forest.
2. On November 12, 2013 the USFS indefinitely suspended all Smokey Project operations "[d]ue to ongoing litigation and the new biological analysis needing to be performed."
3. In light of the USFS decision to reinitiate consultation with USFWS under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2), USFWS may issue a new biological opinion at the conclusion of that consultation. If it does, the parties expect that Conservation Congress will file an Amended Complaint in this matter.
4. Accordingly, the parties agree that the interests of judicial economy and efficiency favor the issuance of a stay of this litigation until the new consultation is complete. The parties are attempting to negotiate a schedule for a stipulation for a stay of the proceedings during the consultation.
5. The stipulation for a stay of proceedings will seek the Court's approval to extend the deadlines for Federal Defendants to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint or any amended complaint, and the deadline for the Joint Status Report, until after the Endangered Species Act consultation is complete.
For the above reasons, Conservation Congress and the Federal Defendants hereby stipulate pursuant to Local Rule 144 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6 to a twenty-eight day extension of time of Federal Defendants' deadline for filing their answer or response to Plaintiff's Complaint. Pursuant to the instant stipulation, if the Court does not approve the stipulation for stay of proceedings, Federal Defendants' deadline for filing their answer or response to the Complaint shall be due on December 30, 2013. The parties anticipate that this deadline will be vacated if the parties submit and the Court approves a stipulation for a stay of proceedings during the Endangered Species Act consultation.
Also for the reasons set out above, the parties also respectfully request that the Court postpone the deadline for the parties to confer and submit the joint status report currently due on December 2, 2013 until December 30, 2013. Dkt. No. 4 ¶ 4. As with the deadline for Federal Defendants' answer or response, the parties contemplate that this deadline will be vacated if the parties submit and the Court approves a stipulation for stay of proceedings.
For all the foregoing reasons, the parties respectfully request that the Court approve the stipulation to extend the deadline for the joint status report.
It is so ordered.