Friends of the Wild Whoopers is disappointed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversal of the district court’s decision. Yet, it is important to recognize that TAP did win some key aspects of the case. And hopefully TCEQ will seriously reconsider their use of water permits in order to keep the freshwater inflows at a healthy level for the whooping cranes.
July 1, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charles Irvine, 713-533-1704
Federal court of appeals decision offers roadmap for future cases
Today, The Aransas Project (TAP) announces its analysis of the ruling from the appeals court decision regarding TAP’s legal battle to protect the last naturally migrating flock of endangered whooping cranes. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a narrowly-tailored decision, held that the federal district judge misapplied certain legal theories when it found that the TCEQ was liable for the deaths of 23 endangered and federally-protected Whooping Cranes in 2008-2009. TAP is considering its full range of options including further appellate review.
In a 34-page opinion, a panel of three judges of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the district court misapplied certain legal standards related to causation in its decision.
TAP prevailed on several aspects of the appeal. First, TAP had legal standing to bring the case. Second, TAP presented compelling evidence that up to twenty-three endangered, federally-protected Whooping cranes actually died in 2008-2009. Third, that federal data supporting TAP’s allegations of deaths by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Tom Stehn was reliable. Fourth, that TAP presented evidence that the crane deaths were related to lack of essential food, water and other essential habitat requirements. And finally, there was no basis for the district court to abstain to a non-existent and ineffectual state of Texas process.
To read TAP’s entire statement click here.
***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****