Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter Of Communities For A Great Oregon

515 U.S. 687 (1995)


The Endangered Species Act defined the term 'take' under section 3(19) which included the term 'harm.' The Interior Department regulations that implemented the statute defined the term 'harm' under 50 C.F.R. Section 17.3 (1994). (See page 320 Breyer 5th). A limitation on the word 'take' was added by amendment in 1982 that allowed the Secretary to grant a permit for any taking otherwise prohibited if that taking was incidental to and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. The Act also requires the Secretary to identify species of fish and wildlife that are in danger of extinction and to publish lists of all species determined to be endangered or threatened. The Secretary is also authorized to acquire land to aid in preserving such species, and the Act requires all other federal agencies to ensure that none of their activities, will jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species. Sweet Home (P) are small landowners, logging companies, and families dependent on the forest products of the Pacific Northwest and in the Southeast. They brought a declaratory judgment action alleging that application of the 'harm' regulation to the red cockheaded woodpecker and the northern spotted owl, had injured them economically. The case was decided on motions for summary judgment.