* Articles Editor, Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 2002–03.
1 Endangered Species Act of 1973  2–17, 16 U.S.C.  1531–1544 (2001).
2 Id.  1531(a)(1).
3 Id.  1531(b).
4 Id.  1533(a)(2), 1533(a)(3)(A).
5 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of the Interior, Office of the Sec’y, Administration Proposes Endangered Species Act Exemptions for Small Landowners; “Guideposts for Reform” Would Give More Authority to States (Mar. 6, 1995), 1995 WL 102449, at *1.
6 See, e.g., Oliver A. Houck, The Endangered Species Act and Its Implementation by the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce, 64 U. Colo. L. Rev. 277, 297 (1993); Jack McDonald, Critical Habitat Designation Under the Endangered Species Act: A Road to Recovery?, 28 Envtl. L. 671, 685 (1998); James M. Patlis, Paying Tribute to Joseph Heller with the Endangered Species Act: When Critical Habitat Isn’t, 20 Stan. Envtl. L.J. 133, 205–06 (2001); James Salzman, Evolution and Application of Critical Habitat Under the Endangered Species Act, 14 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 311, 339 (1990); Katherine Simmons Yagerman, Protecting Critical Habitat Under the Federal Endangered Species Act, 20 Envtl. L. 811, 856 (1990); Thomas F. Darin, Comment, Designating Critical Habitat Under the Endangered Species Act: Habitat Protection Versus Agency Discretion, 24 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 209, 235 (2000).
7 See, e.g., Natural Res. Def. Council v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 113 F.3d 1121, 1127 (9th Cir. 1997); Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1281, 1288–89 (D. Haw. 1998).
8 See Salzman, supra note 6, at 335. Most recently, the ESA has been criticized after the National Wilderness Institute filed a suit to halt construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, a multi-million dollar project meant to ease traffic in Washington, D.C., which has been approved by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Editorial, Endangering the Beltway, Wall St. J., Jan. 10, 2002, at A12.
9 J.B. Ruhl, Section 7(a)(1) of the “New” Endangered Species Act: Rediscovering and Redefining the Untapped Power of Federal Agencies’ Duty to Conserve Species, 25 Envtl. L. 1107, 1138 (1995).
10 See Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1533(a) (2001).
11 See id.  1538(a)(1)(C).
12 See Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, 50 C.F.R.  17.21, 17.31(a) (2001).
13 Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-632  2, 92 Stat. 3751 (1978) (codified as amended at 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(A) (2001)).
14 Id.
15 See, e.g., N.M. Cattle Growers v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 248 F.3d 1277, 1282 (10th Cir. 2001).
16 Endangered Species Act of 1973  7, 16 U.S.C.  1536(a); see also Greenpeace v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 55 F. Supp. 2d 1248, 1260 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
17 See Houck, supra note 6, at 308; Shawn E. Smith, How “Critical” Is a Critical Habitat?: The United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Duty Under the Endangered Species Act, 8 Dick. J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 343, 351 (1999).
18 See, e.g., Sierra Club v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 245 F.3d 434, 441 (5th Cir. 2001); Greenpeace, 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1265.
19 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. Critical Habitat: What is it?, (2002), at http://endangered.fws.gov/listing/critical_habitat.pdf (last visited Sept. 19, 2002).
20 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Listing Priority Guidance for Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999, 63 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,502 (May 8, 1998).
21 N.M. Cattle Growers Ass’n, 248 F.3d at 1283.
22 See, e.g., Natural Res. Def. Council v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 113 F.3d 1121, 1123 (9th Cir. 1997); Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1283 (D. Haw. 1998); N. Spotted Owl v. Lujan, 758 F. Supp. 621, 624–26 (W.D. Wash. 1991). See discussion supra Part I.E.
23 See Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.  706 (2001); Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1540(g) (2001).
24 See Fund for Animals v. Babbitt, 903 F. Supp. 96, 105 (D.D.C. 1995); see also City of Las Vegas v. Lujan, 891 F.2d 927, 932 (D.C. Cir. 1989).
25 See 5 U.S.C.  706(2)(A), (D); see also Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105.
26 16 U.S.C.  1531(a)(1).
27 Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, Pub. L. No. 89-699, 80 Stat. 926 (repealed 1973).
28 Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, Pub. L. No. 91-135, 83 Stat. 275 (repealed 1973).
29 The 1966 Act did not include provisions that addressed land use, standard requirements for listing a species, takings of listed species, or constraints on federal agency actions that could potentially jeopardize the survival of a species. Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966  2(b).
30 See Endangered Species Conservation Act  3; see also George Cameron Coggins & Irma S. Russell, Beyond Shooting Snail Darters in Pork Barrels: Endangered Species and Land Use in America, 70 Geo. L.J. 1433, 1450 (1982).
31 S. Rep. No. 93-307, at 3 (1973), reprinted in 1973 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2989, 2991.
32 Id.
33 Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1531(c) (2001).
34 Id.  1531(a)(3).
35 Id.  1531(b).
36 See id.  1533(a).
37 Id.  1533(a)(1).
38 Id.  1533(b)(1)(A).
39 16 U.S.C.  1533(a)(1).
40 Id.  1538(a)(1)(C); Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, 50 C.F.R.  17.21(c), 17.31(a) (2002).
41 16 U.S.C.  1532(13).
42 Id.  1532(19).
43 50 C.F.R.  17.3.
44 Id.
45 16 U.S.C.  1540(g)(1)(A).
46 Id.  1540(e)(6).
47 Id.  1540(a).
48 Id.  1540(b).
49 See Sierra Club v. Block, 614 F. Supp. 488, 492 (D.D.C. 1985).
50 16 U.S.C.  1539(g).
51 Endangered Species Act  10, 16 U.S.C.  1539.
52 16 U.S.C.  1538(a)(1)(C), 1539(a)(1)(B).
53 16 U.S.C.  1539(a)(2)(A).
54 Id.  1539(a)(2)(B).
55 Id.  1532(5)(A).
56 Id.
57 Id.  1532(5)(a)(i).
58 Id.  1532(5)(a)(ii).
59 16 U.S.C.  1532(3).
60 See id.
61 McDonald, supra note 6, at 681.
62 Interagency Cooperation Endangered Species Act of 1973, 43 Fed. Reg. 870, 870 (Jan. 4, 1978) (codified at 50 C.F.R. pt. 402).
63 Tenn. Valley Auth. v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 194–95 (1978).
64 Id. at 172.
65 Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-632  2, 92 Stat. 3751 (1978).
66 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(A). The committee was created by the ESA for the sole purpose of making final decisions on the applications for exemptions from the ESA. Id.  1536(e).
67 See 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(A), 1536(e).
68 See 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(A), 1536(e).
69 See Sierra Club v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 245 F.3d 434, 441 (5th Cir. 2001).
70 Id. at 443.
71 16 U.S.C.  1533(a)(3).
72 Id.  1533(b)(2). Once biological research and a cost-benefit analysis has begun, the FWS publishes the proposed critical habitat for public scrutiny and holds public hearings if requested. Id.  1533(b)(5); Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitats, 50 C.F.R.  424.12–.13 (2002). If the FWS promulgates a critical habitat, then a map of the habitat is placed in the Code of Federal Regulations. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, 50 C.F.R.  17.11–.12, 17.95 (2002). If, however, the FWS decides that critical habitat designation is “not prudent” or “not determinable,” then the FWS must publish the reasons in the publication listing the species. 50 C.F.R.  424.12(a).
73 See 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(a).
74 See Missouri v. Sec’y of the Interior, 158 F. Supp. 2d 984, 987 (W.D. Mo. 2001).
75 Id.
76 Id.
77 16 U.S.C.  1532; 50 C.F.R.  424.12(a)(1)(i).
78 50 C.F.R.  424.12(a)(1)(i)–(ii).
79 See Missouri, 158 F. Supp. 2d at 987.
80 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(2).
81 Id.
82 Id.  1533(b)(1)(A).
83 50 C.F.R.  424.12(b)(1)–(5).
84 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(2).
85 See H.R. Rep. No. 95-1625, at 17 (1978), reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 9453, 9467.
86 Id.
87 See id.
88 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(2).
89 Id.  1532(5)(C).
90 See id.
91 Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitats, 50 C.F.R.  424.12(a)(2) (2002).
92 Id.
93 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(6)(C)(ii).
94 Id.
95 H.R. Rep. No. 97-567, at 8 (1982), reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2807, 2808.
96 Id. at 19–20, reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2807, 2819–20.
97 Endangered Species Act of 1973  7, 16 U.S.C.  1536(a)(2); see also Greenpeace v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 55 F. Supp. 2d 1248, 1260 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
98 16 U.S.C.  1536(a)(2).
99 Endangered Species Committee Regulations, 50 C.F.R.  402.10(a) (2002).
100 Id.  402.12.
101 16 U.S.C.  1536(b)(3)(A). If the consultation indicates that there are no endangered or threatened species in the area, and the action is not defined as a “major construction activity,” then the consultation process is completed, and the federal agency may continue with the project without having the FWS prepare a biological opinion. See 50 C.F.R.  402.12. “Major construction activity” is defined as “a construction project . . . significantly affecting the quality of the human environment as referred to in the National Environmental Policy Act.” Id.  402.02.
102 50 C.F.R.  402.14(d).
103 See id.  402.14(h)(3).
104 See 16 U.S.C.  1536(b)(4); 50 C.F.R.  402.14(h)(3).
105 See 16 U.S.C.  1536(b)(3)(A); 50 C.F.R.  402.14(h)(3).
106 See, e.g., Roosevelt Campobello Int’l Park Comm’n v. United States Envtl. Prot. Agency, 684 F.2d 1041, 1045 (1st Cir. 1982); Nat’l Wildlife Fed’n v. Coleman, 529 F.2d 359, 367 (5th Cir. 1976).
107 See Tribal Village of Akutan v. Hodel, 869 F.2d 1185, 1193 (9th Cir. 1988). Like the FWS, however, the federal agency must use the best scientific and commercial data available when developing alternatives. See Endangered Species Act of 1973  7, 16 U.S.C.  1536(a)(2).
108 See Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1286 (D. Haw. 1990).
109 See 16 U.S.C.  1536(a)(2).
110 See id.
111 Greenpeace v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 55 F. Supp. 2d 1248, 1259–60 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
112 See Houck, supra note 6, at 308; Smith, supra note 17, at 351.
113 See Endangered Species Committee Regulations, 50 C.F.R.  402.02 (2002).
114 Id.
115 Id.
116 See, e.g., Sierra Club v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 245 F.3d 434, 441 (5th Cir. 2001); Greenpeace, 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1265.
117 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1265.
118 Id.
119 Id. Stronger language has been used when the regulatory definitions were not at issue before the court. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that “the standards are defined as virtually identical, or, if not identical, one (adverse modification) is subsumed by the other (jeopardy).” N.M. Cattle Growers Ass’n v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 248 F.3d 1277, 1283 (10th Cir. 2001) (citing Am. Rivers v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 3860, at *5 (9th Cir. Jan. 11, 1999)).
120 Sierra Club v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 245 F.3d 434, 441 (5th Cir. 2001).
121 Id. Sierra Club argued that the regulation violated a cardinal principle of statutory construction, which is “to give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute . . . rather than to emasculate an entire section.” Id. (citing Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 173 (1997)).
122 Id. at 441.
123 Id. (emphasis added).
124 Id.; see also Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1287 (D. Haw. 1998) (holding that “the ESA clearly establishes two separate considerations, jeopardy and adverse modification, but recognizes . . . that these standards overlap to some degree”).
125 Catron County Bd. of Comm’rs, N.M. v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 75 F.3d 1429, 1436 (10th Cir. 1996); Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495, 1507–08 (9th Cir. 1995).
126 Douglas County, 48 F.3d at 1507–08.
127 Catron County, 75 F.3d at 1436; see also N.M. Cattle Growers Ass’n v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 248 F.3d 1277, 1284 (10th Cir. 2001) (reaffirming Catron County and stating that the fact that the FWS says that no real impact flows from critical habitat designation does not make it so).
128 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. Critical Habitat: What is it?, (2002), at http://endangered.fws.gov/listing/critical_habitat.pdf (last visited Sept. 19, 2002).
129 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Listing Priority Guidance for Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999, 63 Fed. Reg. 25,502, 25,502 (May 8, 1998). The Guidance states:
The Service disagrees with the assertion that the proposed listing priority guidance is not based on sound biological considerations, and remains firm in its belief that designation of critical habitat generally provides little or no additional conservation benefits beyond those provided by the consultation provisions of section 7 and the prohibitions of section 9, while the cost of designation is generally high.
Id.
130 See, e.g., N.M. Cattle Growers, 248 F.3d at 1283.
131 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Determination of Critical Habitat for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, 62 Fed. Reg. 39,129, 39,131 (July 22, 1997).
132 Id.
133 Id.; McDonald, supra note 6, at 684.
134 Id.
135 Id.
136 Id.
137 See Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1540(g) (2001).
138 Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.  706 (2001); see also Fund for Animals v. Babbitt, 903 F. Supp. 96, 105 (D.D.C. 1995).
139 5 U.S.C.  706(1).
140 See 5 U.S.C.  706(2)(A), (D); see also Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105.
141 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105; see also Marsh v. Or. Natural Res. Council, 490 U.S. 360, 378 (1989). According to the Supreme Court, the reasoned basis for the agency’s action should come from the agency, not the reviewing court. See Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983). A decision of less than ideal clarity may be upheld, however, if the court can reasonably discern the agency’s path to reaching that decision. Id.
142 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105; see also Marsh, 490 U.S. at 378; Citizens to Pres. Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 415–16 (1971); Prof’l Drivers Council v. Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety, 706 F.2d 1216, 1220 (D.C. Cir. 1983).
143 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105. The Supreme Court stated that when an agency’s decision “requires a high level of technical expertise [the court] must defer to the informed discretion of the . . . agency. [W]hen specialists express conflicting views, an agency must rely on the reasonable opinion of its own qualified experts, even if a court might find contrary views more persuasive.” Marsh, 490 U.S. at 377–78.
144 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105; see also Camp v. Pitts, 411 U.S. 138, 142 (1973).
145 See Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842–43 (1984).
146 Id.
147 Id. at 843.
148 903 F. Supp. at 117.
149 Id. The zones were regulated by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Guidelines, which were established by federal, state, and Canadian agencies. Id. at 109. The habitat was classified by five Management Situations that recommended various actions to be taken within these areas to respond to various threats to the species. Id.
150 Id. at 117.
151 Id.
152 Id.
153 Id.
154 Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 117.
155 Natural Res. Def. Council v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 113 F.3d 1121, 1128–29 (9th Cir. 1997).
156 Id. at 1123; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Threatened Status for the Coastal California Gnatcatcher, 58 Fed. Reg. 16,742, 16,756(Mar. 30, 1993) (to be codified at 50 C.F.R. pt. 17).
157 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1123.
158 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1123.
159 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,753, 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125.
160 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125.
161 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125.
162 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125.
163 See Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125. The court pointed to the FWS’s own regulations where it stated that critical habitat designation would be “not prudent” only when the potential threats outweigh the potential benefits. Id. (citing Listing Endangered and Threshold Species and Designating Critical Habitat; Amended Procedures to Comply With the 1982 Amendments to the Endangered Species Act, 49 Fed. Reg. 38,900, 38,903 (Oct. 1, 1984) (to be codified at 50 C.F.R. pt. 424)). Although the Court criticized the FWS for never weighing the benefits of critical habitat designation against the benefits of exclusion, it noted that the destroyed habitat areas had been extensively analyzed in other studies of the gnatcatcher habitat prior to the listing of the species. Id.
164 58 Fed. Reg. at 16,756; see also Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1125–26.
165 Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1126.
166 Id.
167 Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1281 (D. Haw. 1998).
168 Id.
169 Id.
170 Id.
171 Id. at 1283.
172 See id. at 1284–85.
173 Conservation Council for Haw., 2 F. Supp. 2d at 1283.
174 Id. at 1285.
175 Id.
176 Id. at 1285–86.
177 Id. at 1286.
178 Id.
179 Conservation Council for Haw., 2 F. Supp. 2d at 1286; see also Endangered Species Act of 1973  7, 16 U.S.C.  1536(2) (2001).
180 Conservation Council for Haw., 2 F. Supp. 2d at 1287.
181 Id.
182 Id. at 1288.
183 Id. at 1289.
184 Id. at 1288–89.
185 Forest Guardians v. Babbitt, 174 F.3d 1178, 1183 (10th Cir. 1996); N. Spotted Owl v. Lujan, 758 F. Supp. 621, 629 (W.D. Wash. 1991).
186 N. Spotted Owl, 758 F. Supp. at 625, 626.
187 Id. at 626.
188 Id.
189 See Butte Envtl. Council v. White, 145 F. Supp. 2d 1180, 1185 (E.D. Cal. 2001).
190 Id. (citation omitted).
191 Id.
192 Id.; see also Conservation Council for Haw., 24 F. Supp. 2d 1074, 1077–78 (D. Haw. 1998) (holding that “an additional, non-statutory stage in the process cannot be used as justification for contravening the express deadlines provided in the statute”).
193 White, 145 F. Supp. 2d at 1180 (citing Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(6)(C) (2001)).
194 See Houck, supra note 6, at 235, 358; McDonald, supra note 6, at 700; Patlis, supra note 6, at 217; Salzman, supra note 6, at 339; Yagerman, supra note 6, at 855–56.
195 16 U.S.C.  1531.
196 See id.  1533(a)(3).
197 S. Rep. No. 93-307, at 3 (1973), reprinted in 1973 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2989, 2991.
198 Id.
199 See 16 U.S.C.  1533(a), 1538(a)(1)(C).
200 S. Rep. No. 93-307, at 3, reprinted in 1973 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2989, 2991.
201 See 16 U.S.C.  1538(a)(1)(C), 1536(a)(2); Endangered Species Committee Regulations, 50 C.F.R.  402.02 (2002).
202 S. Rep. No. 93-307, at 3, reprinted in 1973 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2989, 2991.
203 16 U.S.C.  1538(a)(1)(C).
204 S. Rep. No. 93-307, at 3, reprinted in 1973 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2989, 2991.
205 See Fund for Animals v. Babbitt, 903 F. Supp. 96, 117 (D.D.C. 1995).
206 16 U.S.C.  1533(a)(2), 1533(a)(3)(A).
207 See Darin, supra note 6, at 231–32.
208 Greenpeace v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 55 F. Supp. 2d 1248, 1259–60 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
209 See Houck, supra note 6, at 303; Smith, supra note 17, at 351.
210 See Endangered Species Committee Regulations, 50 C.F.R.  402.02 (2002).
211 Id.
212 See, e.g., Sierra Club v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 245 F.3d 434, 441 (5th Cir. 2001); Greenpeace, 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1260.
213 See Sierra Club, 245 F.3d at 441; Greenpeace, 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1260.
214 Sierra Club, 245 F.3d at 441; Greenpeace, 55 F. Supp. 2d at 1260; see discussion supra note 119.
215 Id. (emphasis added).
216 Id. “[T]he ESA clearly establishes two separate considerations, jeopardy and adverse modification, but recognizes . . . that these standards overlap to some degree.” Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1287 (D. Haw. 1998).
217 Catron County Bd. of Comm’rs, N.M. v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 75 F.3d 1429, 1436 (N.M. 1996); see also N.M. Cattle Growers Ass’n v. United States Fish & Wildlife Serv., 248 F.3d 1277, 1284 (10th Cir. 2001) (reaffirming Catron County and stating that the fact that the FWS says that no real impact flows from critical habitat designation does not make it so).
218 See Natural Res. Def. Council v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 113 F.3d 1121, 1127 (9th Cir. 1997); Conservation Council for Haw., 2 F. Supp. 2d at 1287.
219 Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(1)(A) (2001).
220 16 U.S.C.  1533(b)(2); Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitats, 50 C.F.R.  424.19 (2002).
221 16 U.S.C.  1532(5)(A)(ii).
222 Id.; 50 C.F.R.  424.12(e); H.R. Rep. No. 95-1625, at 16–17, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 9453, 9466–67.
223 H.R. Rep. No. 95-1625, at 17, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 9453, 9466–67. The House Report states that “[t]he committee intends that in most situations, the Secretary will, in fact, designate critical habitat at the same time that a species is listed as endangered or threatened.” Id.
224 See Conservation Council for Haw. v. Babbitt, 2 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1285 (D. Haw. 1998).
225 Id.
226 Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.  706 (2001); see also City of Las Vegas v. Lujan, 891 F.2d 927, 932 (D.C. Cir. 1989); Fund for Animals v. Babbitt, 903 F. Supp. 96, 105 (D.D.C. 1995).
227 5 U.S.C.  706(1).
228 See id.  706(2)(A), (D); see also Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105.
229 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105; see also Marsh v. Or. Natural Res. Council, 490 U.S. 360, 378 (1989). The Supreme Court has stated that, under APA review, the reviewing court should not provide a reasoned basis for the agency’s action. See Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983). However, it should uphold a decision of less than ideal clarity if the court can reasonably discern the agency’s path to reaching a decision. See id.
230 See Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105; see also Marsh, 490 U.S. at 378; Citizens to Pres. Overton Park, Inc. v. Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 415–16 (1971); Prof’l Drivers Council v. Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety, 706 F.2d 1216, 1220 (D.C. Cir. 1983).
231 See Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842–43 (1984).
232 Id.
233 Id. at 843.
234 See H.R. Rep. No. 95-1625, at 17 (1978), reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 9453, 9467.
235 H.R. Rep. No. 95-1625, at 16, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 9453, 9466.
236 Endangered Species Act of 1973  7, 16 U.S.C.  1536(a)(2) (2001).
237 Id.  9,  1538(a)(1)(B); Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, 50 C.F.R.  17.3 (2002).
238 See Smith, supra note 17, at 368 (citing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Listing Handbook 89 (1989)) (“The designation of critical habitat [may be beneficial] for the species such as sea turtles where there is a need to formally identify and protect testing beaches through Section 7 even when the turtles are absent.”).
239 See id.
240 See Endangered Species Committee Regulations, 50 C.F.R.  402.02 (2001) (defining “listed species” as “any species of fish, wildlife, or plant which has been determined to be endangered or threatened under Section 4 of the Act”); id.  402.12 (providing for biological assessment to “evaluate the potential effects of the action on listed and proposed species and designated and proposed critical habitat and determine whether any such species or habitat are likely to be adversely affected by the action”).
241 See 50 C.F.R.  402.12.
242 See Darin, supra note 6, at 231–32.