Western Watersheds Project (WWP) has been sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court !
Today the United States Supreme Court denied consideration of an appeal by the Public Lands Council of prior federal court decisions won by Western Watersheds Project that overturned the Bureau of Land Management's livestock grazing regulations enacted during the administration of George W. Bush.
The decision ends once and for all the public land ranching industry's attempt to reinstate regulations that would have significantly reduced public participation in the Bureau of Land Management's livestock grazing program and granted private ranchers property interest in range developments and water on over 160,000,000 acres of federal public land in eleven western states !!
Western Watersheds Project was ably represented in this litigation by attorney Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West's Boise office, the late Tom Lustig of the National Wildlife Federation, and before the U.S. Supreme Court by Scott Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group.
Read the SCOTUS denial of petition for a writ of certiorari
(page 70, docket '10-1290')
Read the 9th Circuit Decision
Read the District Court Decision
Western Watersheds Project has filed a court challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision that the Pygmy rabbit, a tiny bunny small enough to hold in your hand, does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Fragmentation and loss of large sagebrush habitat are rampant throughout the rabbits' range. Livestock grazing, which occurs on nearly all of the areas inhabited by pygmy rabbits, radically alters sagebrush habitat, removing forage, lowering the nutritional value of grasses, spreading exotic weeds and diseases, collapsing burrows and attracting predators. Once populations are isolated by fragmentation and habitat degradation, interbreeding and malnutrition preclude the bunnies from thriving and entire populations perish.
Much like Greater Sage-Grouse, Pygmy rabbits are an indicator species for the health of the sage-steppe landscape in several western states. Without protection from human impacts including energy development and livestock grazing, pygmy rabbits will continue to decline toward extinction.
WWP’s excellent legal representation in this case is by Todd Tucci, Senior Staff Attorney with Advocates for the West in Boise.