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Press Release

Attorney General Achieves Reconsideration of Federal Rules that Overreach on Critical Habitat Designations

March 19, 2018

(Anchorage, AK)—Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth announced today that in light of a lawsuit filed by Alaska and 19 other states, the federal government has agreed to reconsider federal rules adopted in 2016 impacting how lands were designated as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, to the detriment of land managers and owners.

In 2016, federal agencies adopted new rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as “critical habitat” for an endangered species, even if that species did not presently live on that land and the land failed to possess the biological features necessary for survival of the species. Alabama and other states, including Alaska, filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, challenging the rules as unlawful federal overreach. This lawsuit was joined by a total of 20 States and four national trade associations representing industry and public interests impacted by the rules, including homebuilding, utilities, and oil and gas. The settlement requires the federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains the states’ ability to file further litigation should the new rules continue to overreach.

“We are encouraged that the agencies have agreed to revisit these rules which threaten the use of any land and waters that the federal government arbitrarily decides an endangered species might ever inhabit,” said Attorney General Lindemuth. “These rules were overbroad and contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the Endangered Species Act. The Act recognizes the rights of states to be involved in such regulations.”

States joining Alaska in the settlement are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

CONTACT: Assistant Attorney General Brad Meyen at 269-5100 or

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