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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

US District Court Decision Allows DQA Petition Into Record
PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a DQA petition requesting that the Fish and Wildlife Service modify findings regarding the scope of the habitat for the Florida panther.

The FWS denied the Request for Correction (DQA petition), and PEER has filed an administrative appeal under the DQA.

The FWS also issued a biological opinion that a Corps of Engineers "dredge and fill" permit under the Clean Water Act would not jeopardize the Florida panther. The FWS's opinion was based on much the same data and studies challenged by PEER in its Data Quality Act petition.

Several environmental groups filed suit in D.C. District Court challenging the Corps permit and FWS opinion. The court held that granting the permit and FWS opinion were "arbitrary and capricious," invalidated the permit, and remanded the FWS opinion for reconsideration.

The PEER DQA petition was introduced in the judicial proceeding. The judge stated:

"Plaintiffs in this action argued that the documents would aid my understanding of the 'complex scientific issues' in the case. I permitted the documents' inclusion in the record of this case-but not as part of the Administrative Record-along with responsive documents submitted by defendant."

  • Click to read Court Decision.
  • Click to read PEER petition.