July 21, 2016

Briefing complete in sea otter petition case

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

This week, we filed our reply brief in PLF’s challenge to the Service’s denial of a petition asking it to follow the law and implement protections for Southern California’s fishery.

As regular readers know, in the 1980s, Congress passed a law allowing the Service to move sea otters into Southern California, on the conditions that it use feasible, nonlethal means to remove otters that wandered into the surrounding fishery and exempt fishermen and others from prosecution for incidental take. Decades after accepting this deal, the Service has decided to renege by eliminating the protections (while leaving the otter population established under the law in place, of course). Our brief argues that federal bureaucrats cannot circumvent the law so easily. When Congress says that agencies “shall” or “must” do something, it means it.

You can find out more about the case here.

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