Decision in Tiger Salamander Challenge


Last Friday, the Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum decision in Home Builders Association of Northern California v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service.  The home builders, represented by PLF attorneys, had challenged the threatened listing for the Central California population of the tiger salamander.  The central thrust of the home builders' argument was that the Service had failed to articulate any standard for determining whether or how the salamander is threatened with extinction.  The court's decision rejected that contention, concluding that the Service had identified several ongoing threats to the salamander, and had permissibly concluded that threatened status is warranted.  The court observed that the Service is under no obligation to state a "habitat threshold" beyond which a species should be considered threatened or endangered; rather, it is enough, per the court, for a threat to be identified and recognized as ongoing.