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Court Orders Further Consideration On Arctic Grayling Protections

Arctic grayling
Mark Conlin, USFWS
Arctic grayling

A federal appeals court says U.S. wildlife officials did not consider all environmental factors when it decided against designating a Montana fish as a threatened or endangered species.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday sent a lawsuit seeking federal protections for the Arctic grayling back to a lower court for further consideration.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued for protections for the grayling. Jenny Harbine is a Center attorney.

"In today’s decision, the 9th Circuit has really given Arctic grayling in Montana a lifeline. Evidence points to an increasingly perilous future for grayling. Grayling are a cold water fish facing dire conditions of low stream flows and increased water temperatures, which will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change."

The appeals court panel reversed U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon's ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision was based on the best available science.

The appellate judges say the federal agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in dismissing threats of high stream temperatures, low stream flows and climate change.

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