Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court To Review Natural Heritage Regulations

lawThere is a case currently before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) that challenges the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. The case, Pepin vs. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, (Docket No. SJC-11332) alleges the priority habitat portion of the regulation, created by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, exceeds statutory authority. The Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program (NHESP) was created by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife to enforce the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA).

The Plaintiff, Pepin, maintains the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and NHESP exceeded statutory authority when it created priority habitat in the regulation. For years, countless businesses and private citizens throughout Massachusetts have been forced to sacrifice land and money in response to priority habitat regulatory demands from NHESP. These regulatory demands are not included in the enabling law. MESA is a good law, the regulation is the problem. The current case before the SJC claims Natural Heritage has gone well beyond what the law allows and also challenges the constitutionality of the regulation. Oral arguments are expected to be scheduled before the SJC this fall. Recently, the SJC issued a public notice soliciting amicus briefs. Interested businesses and individuals are encouraged to support this current action before the SJC by filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff, Pepin. Those interested in learning more about this case may contact Atty. William Murray, 413 736-1852, e-mail:

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