DC Circuit rejects enviros’ lawsuit against sea turtle rule

By Pamela King | 06/21/2024 01:32 PM EDT

Judges found that NOAA Fisheries had issued a reasonable regulation to protect the vulnerable reptiles.

The federal government has agreed to set critical habitat to protect the green sea turtle.

A green sea turtle. Brocken Inaglory/Wikipedia

A federal appeals court Friday dismissed a challenge from green groups against a NOAA Fisheries rule designed to protect sea turtles.

In a short, unsigned order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously found that the 2019 regulation was reasonable and a logical outgrowth of the proposal that came before it.

Environmental groups had argued that NOAA Fisheries did not properly indicate in the proposed rule that the final version could exempt small shrimping vessels from using turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, that help release the reptiles from fishing nets.


The court also dismissed claims from the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups that the rule violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not listing the benefits of the regulation for each species of protected turtle.