On April 17, 2017, a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois granted a temporary restraining order halting construction of a six-mile stretch of highway in suburban Chicago in response to allegations by project opponents that the project could affect the rusty patched bumble bee, which has historically been found along the planned project route and which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) effective March 21, 2017. (Petzel v. Kane County Department of Transportation, et al., case number 1:16-cv-05435, N.D.Ill.) If there was any question whether that listing would materially impact development of projects within the species’ range, this injunction provides a clear indication that that may indeed be the case.In this case, a not-for-profit group called Stop Longmeadow filed an emergency motion to intervene in an already-pending suit seeking to stop construction of the highway, as well as a motion for a temporary restraining order to halt the construction. The judge granted both of Stop Longmeadow’s motions, noting that the concerns it had raised about the project’s potential harm to the rusty patched bumble bee were sufficient to temporarily stop the project. Though the temporary injunction is only until April 28, it provides Stop Longmeadow with the opportunity to submit additional evidence that the project should be delayed further or enjoined permanently on the basis of impacts to the bee.
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