Hogan Lovells Secures Victory for Permian Basin Petroleum Association

WASHINGTON, 2 September 2015 – Hogan Lovells has obtained a significant victory on behalf of client the Permian Basin Petroleum Association (PBPA), the largest regional oil and natural gas association in the United States, in its challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule listing the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas vacated the listing on 1 September 2015, concluding that the FWS had failed to follow its own policy of assessing conservation activity, including PBPA's conservation efforts already undertaken on millions of acres across five states to improve habitat for and diminish threats to the LPC. Earlier this year, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which oversees the conservation efforts under the Range-wide Plan, reported a 25 percent increase in the LPC population from 2014 to 2015, in part due to the industry's conservation efforts.

The Court's decision in PBPA v. DOI impacts landowners and businesses in the five states containing LPC habitat: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. The decision also will impact four other district court cases (in the Northern District of Oklahoma and in the District Court of the District of Columbia) that challenge the LPC listing decision but which have not yet proceeded to briefing.

The Hogan Lovells environmental litigation team representing PBPA was led by Jim Banks, and included Doug Wheeler, Joanne Rotondi, and Jennifer Biever.

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