President Rob Rivett here. Here’s the week’s important happenings.
Environmental – Delisting the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel
We received a favorable decision today in Friends of Blackwater v. Salazar, where the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service delisted the West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel because of drastic improvements in habitat. Environmentalists challenged the delisting decision arguing that the goals in the recovery plan had not been met. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with our amicus brief that the recovery plan was advisory and not binding on the agency. The district court had held that the Service would have to redo the recovery plan, then delist the species. The Court of Appeals agreed with us PLF and held that redoing the plan would be a wasted effort.
Property Rights – Unlawful Conditions on New Development
We filed our reply brief in support of our petition for certiorari in United States Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management District. This case raises the following issues: whether constitutional protections against unlawful permit conditions apply to exactions other than dedications of real property, and whether those protections apply when a permit is denied because the property owner refuses to submit to unlawful conditions. As our reply brief explains, the state and federal circuit courts are divided on these questions of constitutional law. These inconsistencies have been growing for almost two decades and must be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. The petition is scheduled for conference in late September.