In January 1993, the U.S. Fish & Wild Life Service (“FWS”) added the delta smelt, a small, silvery blue fish, to the Endangered Species Act’s (“ESA”) list of threatened wildlife. Species on the list are entitled to the ESA’s protections. In Natural Resource Defense Council v. Jewell, the Natural Resource Defense Council (“NRDC”) brought an action against the Bureau of Reclamation (the “Bureau”) for violating Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, the consultation requirement, to protect the delta smelt. The consultation provision required the Bureau to consult with the FWS before it renewed contracts that controlled water rights in the delta smelt’s habitat. To use the ESA’s citizen suit provision, a plaintiff must establish Article III standing. The NRDC was able to satisfy all three elements of Article III standing: injury in fact, causation, and available redress. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that a non-governmental organization could have Article III standing to challenge a federal agency’s violation of the ESA consultation requirement. This Comment argues that the Ninth Circuit properly reasoned that redress could be available before a listed species suffers actual harm, thereby providing species with protections guaranteed by the ESA.
Protecting the Delta Smelt: Environmental Organizations Have Standing to Enforce the Endangered Species Act’s Consultation Requirement,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.
E. Supp. 55