Partial Settlement in Polar Bear Lawsuit
Yesterday Center for Biological Diversity et al. filed a partial settlement with Judge Wilken of the Northern District of California. (CBD's press release is here). The settlement would cover CBD's claims against the Service for failure to designate polar bear critical habitat under the ESA and failure to establish nonlethal deterrence guidelines for polar bear-human interaction under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Pursuant to the settlement, the government must designate critical habitat by June, 2010, and must issue guidelines by March, 2010. The central claim of CBD's lawsuit—the polar bear should be listed as endangered not threatened—remains for adjudication.
Also pending before Judge Wilken are the government's and the intervenors' motions to transfer venue to the District of Columbia, where there are already pending five lawsuits over the polar bear listing, among them PLF's.