Conservancy of SW Florida, et al. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, et al., No. 11-11915 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
This case concerned a challenge brought under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551-559, 701-706, to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's denial of petitions to designate critical habitat for the Florida panther. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, empowered the Secretary of the Interior to designate "critical habitat" for species of fish, wildlife, or plants that have been identified by the Secretary as "endangered" or "threatened." When the Service denied the petitions of environmental advocacy groups, these groups claimed that the denial of their petitions was arbitrary and capricious. The court concluded, however, that the denial of their petitions was not subject to judicial review under the APA because it was "committed to agency discretion by law." Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal.