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Talking Turtles and Takes: The SJC & Priority Habitat Regulations Under the Mass. Endangered Species Act

Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA



This program will discuss and analyze the SJC’s recent decision in Pepin v. DFW, which upheld the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s “Priority Habitat” regulations under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.  The Department of Fish and Game’s General Counsel will briefly summarize MESA and its implementing regulations and frame the legal issues.  Counsel who argued the case will then discuss the SJC’s decision, focusing on the differences between the “Significant Habitat” program established by MESA, and the Priority Habitat program established by DFW regulations to implement MESA’s “take” prohibition. 

In Pepin, the Court held, among other things, that the statutory procedures applicable to the designation of Significant Habitat are not required for Priority Habitat mapping because it is a flexible regulatory program, which does not block or restrict development to the extent required by statute for work in Significant Habitat.  The Panelists will also briefly walk through DFW’s review process for projects in Priority Habitat, including opportunities for property owners to challenge agency determinations.

Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):





Elizabeth Vincensi


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