D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenges to Polar Bear Listing

This morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handed down a unanimous opinion rejecting both industry and environmentalist group challenges to the Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to list the polar as a “threatened” species.  Environmentalist groups argued the FWS should have listed the polar bear as “endangered.  Industry groups and their allies thought the polar bear should not have been listed at all.  Applying the highly deferential review that is customary in these sorts of cases, the panel had little difficulty dispatching both sides’ claims.  While there are some questions about the FWS’ critical habitat designation for the polar bear, which was thrown out by a federal district court judge in separate litigation, my sense is that the D.C. Circuit got this one right.  A federal agency’s assessment of the relevant scientific literature is due substantial deference.

I have prior posts on the polar bear listing and litigation here, here, and here.  See also this article from The New Atlantis.