The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and is currently in danger of irreparable destruction due to natural and human-made environmental disturbance. This paper focuses on a case, Center for Biological Diversity v. Export-Import Bank, concerning the extraterritoriality application of the Endangered Species Act to a Federal agency’s funding of liquefied natural gas projects in Australia requiring, in part, the dredging of portions of the Great Barrier Reef. As the health of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other environmentally protected and culturally important geography is jeopardized, United States’ government activity in foreign jurisdictions raises the question as to whether agency activity (if it is agency action) can come under jurisdiction of United States’ courts or whether the federal activity abroad remains untouchable by United States jurisprudence aimed at protecting endangered habitats and species. The Center for Biological Diversity case, pending appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, presents the opportunity for a court to consider application of the presumption against extraterritoriality on Federal agency activity that substantially jeopardizes the health and preservation of endangered and culturally significant ecosystems under the Endangered Species Act.
Katherine M. MacRae,
We Are Not Alone: How Extraterritorial Application of the Endangered Species Act Can Preserve International Endangered Species and Habitats,
Ocean & Coastal L.J.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/oclj/vol22/iss2/14