On November 9, 2015, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) re-opened the Range-wide Oil and Gas Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) with approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This re-opening follows the September 1, 2015 decision of the U.S. District Court to vacate the listing of the lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The CCAA is now open for new enrollments of oil and gas leases, pipelines, and transfers of properties from the WAFWA Conservation Agreement (WCA) to the CCAA. WAFWA has stated that participation in the CCAA will “result in conservation to support the vacatur and evidence to refute future appeals and listing proposals.” It is uncertain how long the CCAA will be open for new enrollments.
The legal assurances provided to participants of the WCA were derived from Section 4(d) of the ESA and are only applicable to species listed as threatened under the ESA. The CCAA’s legal assurances are based on an ESA Section 10 permit and remain applicable whether a species is listed under the ESA as threatened or endangered. The USFWS filed a motion on September 29, 2015, for reconsideration of the Federal Judge’s decision with oral arguments scheduled for November 12, 2015.
If you have questions regarding the decision or how any state- or federally-listed species may affect your project, please contact aci consulting’s WAFWA-approved LPC Technical Service providers at our Austin office.