U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Friday upheld the listing of the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, rejecting arguments by developers that the owl didn’t merit protections because large populations of the species exist in Mexico. She said the act focuses on the status of species in the U.S., regardless of how well the species are surviving elsewhere. However, Bolton also told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its decision to designate 731,712 acres in Arizona as critical habitat for the owl. Before moving ahead with the plan to slow development on the land, the agency must do a more thorough job of evaluating the plan’s economic impact.
Get Grist in your inbox