Endangered Species - Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

The Brownstein Endangered Species Group is highly experienced with nearly every aspect of the federal and California Endangered Species Acts (ESA), including work in both the private and public sectors. Our experience is both local and national in scope, allowing us to navigate the larger policy context that often affects ESA decision-making, while still understanding the local realities that impact a project.

Our Group has been involved in some of the most significant and complex ESA issues of the last decade. We successfully led efforts on cutting-edge listing decisions such as the determination that the polar bear was a threatened species. Likewise, we developed the primary guidance on the applicability of the ESA’s consultation requirements to proposed actions involving the emission of greenhouse gases utilized by the Department of the Interior.

At the project level, we have helped clients negotiate ESA approvals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Game, including consultations associated with dam relicensing, residential and commercial development and major water supply and infrastructure projects. Several of the Group’s attorneys have been integrally involved in high-profile, multi-state ESA negotiations to develop long-term plans to mitigate existing and future impacts to listed species.

Our services include habitat conservation and natural communities conservation planning, as well as ESA Section 7 consultations and permitting and negotiations between private, state and federal interests.

Representative Matters
  • Successfully represented oil and gas trade association in federal district court matter related to the Endangered Species Act, resulting in dismissal of the underlying action.

  • Given its significant experience related to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, Brownstein was selected to provide strategic direction to a major national nonprofit foundation regarding the proposed determination of whether the African lion is an endangered species as defined by the Endangered Species Act.

  • Water rights counsel to a senior water right holder on the Santa Ynez River. Representation includes maintenance and protection of the client’s water rights, compliance with CEQA for the construction of an off-river reservoir, negotiations with competing users, and compliance with state and federal regulation of endangered species.

  • The firm is assisting Rosemont in development of one of the largest copper mines in the world. Specifically, we are advising the company on all aspects of obtaining NEPA and and Endangered Species permitting issues. We are also working closely with Rosemont to promptly obtain all necessary air, water and land use approvals.

  • Represent a major California water district in an appeal to the Ninth Circuit concerning an endangered species in the San Joaquin Valley in California.

  • Represented a uranium mining company in obtaining NEPA approval and to address federal and state stipulations regarding the Sage Grouse. Brownstein is working closely with the company to make sure that federal and state regulations are reasonable and permit ongoing production.

  • Represented Intercontinental Potash Corp. in all aspects of developing one of the largest potash mines in the country. Representation included guiding the company through every aspect of the multi-year NEPA and the Endangered Species Act permitting process and obtaining all necessary federal, state and local permits.

  • Counsel to one of California's largest wholesale water suppliers with respect to its compliance with the federal and state Endangered Species Acts for water supply and flood control operations in four major watersheds draining to the San Francisco Bay. The project included the development of a 50-year, multispecies habitat conservation plan (HCP) and associated implementation agreement and environmental compliance (CEQA and NEPA) documents; acquisition of incidental take permits from the NMFS, USFWS and the CDFG for approximately 25 covered terrestrial and aquatic species; and implementation of a complex, multi-agency settlement of a water rights complaint alleging violations of the public trust and CDFG Section 5937, including acquisition of the State Water Resources Control Board's approval of the settlement.

  • Successfully represent a non-profit entity in Endangered Species Act listing litigation.

  • Represented the developer of the first wind project in Santa Barbara County, providing land use, permitting, and environmental compliance advice related to statutes such as the California Environmental Quality Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Act, and Federal Coastal Zone Management Act.

  • Defended NEPA, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and Federal Power Act challenge to FERC's issuance of a 50-year permit renewal for hydroelectric dam for major utility in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Meet The Team

David Longly Bernhardt Shareholder T 202.296.7353 dbernhardt@bhfs.com
Stephanie Osler Hastings Shareholder T 805.882.1415 shastings@bhfs.com
Jon Hrobsky Policy Director T 202.872.5294 jhrobsky@bhfs.com
Gary M. Kvistad Shareholder T 805.882.1414 gkvistad@bhfs.com
William J. McGrath Shareholder T 202.383.4703 wmcgrath@bhfs.com
Susan F. Petrovich Shareholder T 805.882.1405 spetrovich@bhfs.com
Amy M. Steinfeld Shareholder T 805.882.1409 asteinfeld@bhfs.com
Ronda L. Sandquist Shareholder T 303.223.1191 rsandquist@bhfs.com
Ryan A. Smith Shareholder T 202.747.0507 rsmith@bhfs.com