Sierra Club v. Glickman ( 1998 )


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  •            IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
    
                       FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
                          ________________
    
                           No. 96-50677
                         ________________
    
    SIERRA CLUB; CLARK HUBBS,
    
                                     Plaintiffs-Appellees,
    
                                v.
    
    DAN GLICKMAN, Secretary, Department
    of Agriculture; UNITED STATES
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
    
                                     Defendants-Appellants.
    
                           * * * * * * *
                         ________________
    
                           No. 96-50778
                         ________________
    
    SIERRA CLUB; CLARK HUBBS,
    
                                     Plaintiffs-Appellees,
    
                                v.
    
    DAN GLICKMAN, Secretary of Agriculture;
    UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
    
                                     Defendants-Appellants,
    
         and
    
    AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION,
    STATE OF TEXAS,
    
                               Intervenor/Defendants-Appellants.
                     ________________________
    
        Appeals from the United States District Court
               for the Western District of Texas
                    ________________________
                       September 24, 1998
    Before WIENER, EMILIO M. GARZA and BENAVIDES, Circuit Judges.
    
    BENAVIDES, Circuit Judge:
    
         This is the latest in a series of cases brought by Sierra Club
    
    and others concerned about endangered species that depend on water
    
    from the Edwards Aquifer for their survival.         The appellants, Dan
    
    Glickman, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, and the
    
    United States Department of Agriculture (hereinafter collectively
    
    referred to as the “USDA”), appeal from a judgment entered against
    
    them on all three counts of the appellees’ complaint.               For the
    
    reasons set forth below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and
    
    dismiss the remainder of the appeal as moot.
    
                           I.    Factual Background
    
         The Edwards Aquifer is a 175-mile long underground aquifer
    
    that stretches through eight counties in central Texas.                   The
    
    Edwards Aquifer is recharged primarily from surface waters and
    
    rainfall seeping through porous earth along its path.                   Unless
    
    removed by human pumping, water in the Edwards Aquifer flows west
    
    to east, before turning northeast, where it is discharged through
    
    a series of springs on the eastern edge of the aquifer, the two
    
    largest of which are the San Marcos Springs in San Marcos and the
    
    Comal Springs in New Braunfels.        The San Marcos and Comal Springs
    
    are the only habitat of five federally endangered and threatened
    
    species: the fountain darter, the San Marcos gambusia (which may
    
    now be   extinct),   the    San   Marcos    salamander,   the   Texas    blind
    
    salamander, and Texas wild rice (hereinafter collectively referred
    
                                        - 2 -
    to as the “Edwards-dependent species”).               See 50 C.F.R. §§ 17.11,
    
    17.12.
    
         The Edwards Aquifer is of great economic significance to the
    
    State of Texas.         Water from the Edwards Aquifer is used by
    
    thousands of farmers to irrigate millions of dollars worth of
    
    crops, by over two million people as their primary source of water,
    
    and by thousands of businesses upon which the entire central Texas
    
    economy depends.
    
         Pumping     from    the      Edwards     Aquifer,     however,   can   have
    
    significant     ecological     consequences      to    the    Edwards-dependent
    
    species. In times of even mild drought, the springflow at both the
    
    San Marcos and Comal Springs can decrease enough to threaten the
    
    survival of the Edwards-dependent species. Not surprisingly, given
    
    these often competing interests, the Edwards Aquifer has been the
    
    focus of extensive efforts to conserve its limited water resources.
    
         In 1993, the Texas Legislature enacted the Edwards Aquifer Act
    
    to provide for management of the Aquifer.             1993 Sessions Laws, ch.
    
    626 (S.B. 1477), as amended, 1995 Sessions Laws, ch. 261 (H.B.
    
    3189).    In short, the Act imposes a cap on water withdrawals by
    
    non-exempt wells and establishes a permit system, which limits the
    
    authority of the Edwards Aquifer Authority (charged by the Act with
    
    regulating well withdrawals from the Aquifer) to grant permits to
    
    new users (defined as those users who were not beneficially using
    
    water    from   the     Aquifer     before    June    1,     1993).    Although
    
    implementation of the Act was delayed due to administrative and
    
                                          - 3 -
    legal challenges, it is now in force.1
    
         In addition to these legislative efforts, Sierra Club and
    
    others   concerned   about    the   survival   of   the   Edwards-dependent
    
    species have brought a series of lawsuits attempting to further
    
    regulate water usage from the Edwards Aquifer.            See, e.g., Sierra
    
    Club v. City of San Antonio, 
    115 F.3d 311
     (5th Cir. 1997); Sierra
    
    Club v. City of San Antonio, 
    112 F.3d 789
     (5th Cir. 1997); Sierra
    
    Club v. Lujan, 
    1993 WL 151353
     (W.D. Tex. 1993).           This is the latest
    
    of these lawsuits in this court.
    
                            II.   Procedural History
    
         On April 28, 1995, Sierra Club and Clark Hubbs (hereinafter
    
    collectively referred to as “Sierra Club”) filed a three-count
    
    complaint against the USDA.          Count I of the complaint alleged
    
    violations of the Agriculture and Water Policy Coordination Act, 7
    
    U.S.C. §§ 5401-5405, related provisions that establish a USDA
    
    Council on Environmental Quality, 7 U.S.C. §§ 5501-5506, and the
    
    Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, 7 U.S.C. § 1010.                Sierra Club
    
    asserted that these statutes required the USDA to develop and
    
    implement programs to protect waters from contamination and to
    
    prevent environmental problems that may result from agricultural
    
    production.    The complaint alleged that the USDA had unlawfully
    
    withheld or unreasonably delayed compliance with these statutes
    
    
    
          1
             For a thorough description of the Act and the role of the Edwards
    Aquifer Authority, see Barshop v. Medina Underground Water Cons. Dist., 
    925 S.W.2d 618
    , 623-25 (Tex. 1996).
    
                                        - 4 -
    “[a]s respects irrigation, agriculture, [and] pumping from the
    
    Edwards.”
    
           Count II alleged that the USDA violated § 7(a)(1) of the
    
    Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(1), by failing
    
    to consult with FWS and failing to utilize its authorities to carry
    
    out programs for the conservation of the Edwards-dependent species.
    
           Count III alleged that the USDA had violated § 7(a)(2) of the
    
    ESA,    16    U.S.C.   §   1536(a)(2),    by     subsidizing    or   otherwise
    
    encouraging agriculture dependent on irrigation from the Edwards
    
    Aquifer without either engaging in formal consultation with the
    
    United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) or otherwise
    
    insuring that its actions would not cause jeopardy to the Edwards-
    
    dependent species.
    
           Sierra Club sought three forms of injunctive relief: first,
    
    under the Count I statutes, that the USDA use its authorities under
    
    those statutes to carry out programs to conserve the Edwards-
    
    dependent species; second, under § 7(a)(1), that the USDA consult
    
    with FWS and develop additional programs that may benefit the
    
    Edwards Aquifer and the species that depend on it by encouraging
    
    farmers to use less irrigation water; and third, under § 7(a)(2),
    
    that    the    USDA    consult   with    FWS   regarding   conditioning     or
    
    withholding payments to farmers under current farm legislation in
    
    order to encourage greater water conservation efforts.
    
           Shortly after the complaint was filed, the State of Texas and
    
    the    American   Farm     Bureau   Federation    sought   to   intervene   as
    
                                         - 5 -
    defendants.     The district court denied both motions.                   In Sierra
    
    Club v. Glickman, 
    82 F.3d 106
     (5th Cir. 1996), however, this court
    
    reversed and instructed the district court to allow the State and
    
    Farm Bureau to intervene.          The State of Texas and the American Farm
    
    Bureau Federation are both parties to this appeal.
    
         Before    the    parties      filed    motions      for    summary   judgment,
    
    Congress enacted the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act
    
    of 1996 (“FAIR Act”), Pub. L. No. 104-127, 110 Stat. 888, which,
    
    inter alia, replaced most crop subsidy programs under previous
    
    statutes with a new production flexibility contract (“PFC”) payment
    
    program under which the USDA will pay fixed, declining amounts to
    
    eligible producers for a seven-year period.                    Under the FAIR Act,
    
    the USDA does not have discretion to withhold PFC payments or
    
    otherwise use those payments to control the irrigation decisions of
    
    farmers.   The Act requires that the payments be made so long as the
    
    statutory prerequisites have been satisfied.                      See 7 U.S.C. §
    
    7211(a).     In short, so long as a farmer agrees to abide by any
    
    applicable     wetlands      or    highly      erodible        lands   conservation
    
    requirements    and    not    to    use     the   land    for     non-agricultural
    
    commercial or industrial purposes, the USDA must offer to enter
    
    into a PFC contract.          As the USDA notes, the purpose of this
    
    legislation was to achieve a stable transition to a free market
    
    regime by providing “guaranteed payments” to all farmers who
    
    satisfy objective eligibility requirements. See H.R. Rep. No. 104-
    
    462, at 43, 1996 U.S.C.C.A.N. at 615.
    
                                           - 6 -
          In June 1996, after the completion of discovery, the parties
    
    filed cross motions for summary judgment. In addition, Sierra Club
    
    requested preliminary injunctive relief under Count III against
    
    disbursement of the PFC payments to eligible producers until the
    
    USDA formally consulted with the FWS.2
    
          By order dated July 2, 1996, the court granted Sierra Club’s
    
    motion for summary judgment on Counts I and II but denied both
    
    parties’ motions for summary judgment on Count III. In that order,
    
    the   court   ruled,    without     elaboration,    that   Sierra   Club   and
    
    Professor Hubbs had standing to pursue this action.              With respect
    
    to Count I, the court ruled that the USDA “has unlawfully refused
    
    or unreasonably delayed developing and implementing . . . plans
    
    and/or programs” under the agricultural statutes listed in the
    
    complaint.    The court then ordered the USDA to: (1) “develop by
    
    November 1, 1996, and begin to carry out a program to assist in
    
    preserving natural resources and protecting fish and wildlife
    
    through land conservation and utilization” pursuant to 7 U.S.C. §
    
    1010; (2) develop and implement a “coordinated, integrated and
    
    comprehensive     intra-agency       program   to    protect     waters    from
    
    contamination    from   .   .   .   agricultural    production    practices,”
    
    pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 5501 et seq.; and (3) develop and implement
    
    a “detailed plan ‘to evaluate, prevent, and mitigate environmental
    
    problems that may result from agricultural production,’” pursuant
    
    
          2
             The motions for summary judgment and the Sierra Club’s motion for a
    preliminary injunction focused on the payments to farmers under the FAIR Act.
    
                                         - 7 -
    to 7 U.S.C. § 5403(a)(1).
    
         With respect to Count II, the court declared that the USDA had
    
    failed to utilize its authority, pursuant to § 7(a)(1) of the ESA,
    
    to carry out programs for the conservation of endangered Edwards-
    
    dependent species and had failed to consult with or obtain the
    
    assistance of FWS concerning its duties under § 7(a)(1).   The court
    
    ordered the USDA to develop by November 1, 1996, in consultation
    
    with FWS, “an organized program utilizing USDA’s authorities for
    
    the conservation of the Edwards-dependent endangered and threatened
    
    species.”
    
         On July 23 and 24, 1996, a bench trial was held with respect
    
    to Count III, and on August 19, 1996, the district court entered
    
    findings of fact, conclusions of law, and an injunction.    Although
    
    the court acknowledged that the PFC payments must be made to
    
    eligible farmers, the court nonetheless found that the “USDA
    
    unquestionably now has authority under the 1996 Farm Bill to target
    
    monies for designated ‘conservation priority areas.’”      The court
    
    further found that it was “not called upon to resolve the question
    
    of whether and to what extent actions authorized, carried out, or
    
    funded by USDA through PFC payments may adversely affect the
    
    Edwards-dependent species,” because this was a question for the
    
    USDA to answer in consultation with FWS.   The court further stated
    
    that the USDA had “unreasonably delayed” ESA § 7(a)(2) consultation
    
    with respect to both pre-FAIR Act payments and PFC payments under
    
    the FAIR Act.   Despite these findings, the court did not enjoin the
    
                                    - 8 -
    payments under the FAIR Act or order that the USDA proceed to
    
    formal consultation. Instead, the court simply ordered the USDA to
    
    “complete its portion of the informal consultation, including
    
    consulting and obtaining the assistance of the USFWS by November 1,
    
    1996.”
    
         On   September   19,        1996,     the   court   entered   judgment.
    
    Subsequently, the USDA and the intervenors filed timely notices of
    
    appeal and motions for a stay pending appeal.            With respect to the
    
    motions for a stay, the USDA argued that the district court’s
    
    judgment forced it to spend a disproportionate amount of its finite
    
    resources implementing conservation programs in the Edwards Aquifer
    
    area under statutory authorities that do not require action in that
    
    area, and interfered with the USDA’s efforts to deliver finite
    
    resource conservation services in Texas.            By order dated October
    
    23, 1996, this court granted the motions for stay pending appeal.
    
         On November 24, 1997, Sierra Club filed a motion to dismiss
    
    the appeal as moot.   According to Sierra Club, since the appeal was
    
    filed, the USDA has taken actions complying with the district
    
    court’s judgment with respect to its obligations under both §
    
    7(a)(1) and § 7(a)(2).       On December 4, 1997, this court heard
    
    argument on both the merits of the appeal and Sierra Club’s motion
    
    to dismiss.
    
                                 III.        Analysis
    
    
                                A.    ESA § 7(a)(1)
    
    
                                         - 9 -
         The   USDA    first      argues   that     the    district    court     erred    in
    
    granting Sierra Club relief under § 7(a)(1) of the ESA.                       Section
    
    7(a)(1) provides, in relevant part:
    
         All other federal agencies shall, in consultation with and
         with the assistance of the Secretary, utilize their
         authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter by
         carrying out programs for the conservation of endangered
         species and threatened species listed pursuant to section 1533
         of this title.
    
    16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(1).           Relying on this language, the district
    
    court held that the USDA “has not utilized its authority to carry
    
    out programs for the conservation of previously listed Edwards-
    
    dependent species as ESA § 7(a)(1) requires” and that it had not
    
    consulted with FWS concerning utilizing its authorities to carry
    
    out such programs.       The court then ordered the USDA to develop, in
    
    consultation with FWS, “an organized program for utilizing USDA’s
    
    authorities      for    the     conservation          of   the    Edwards-dependent
    
    endangered and threatened species as contemplated by the ESA.”
    
         The USDA seeks to attack the district court’s judgment on
    
    three grounds.         First, the USDA argues that Sierra Club lacks
    
    standing to bring this action.                Second, the USDA argues that
    
    neither    the   citizen      suit   provision        of   the   ESA,   16   U.S.C.   §
    
    1540(g)(1)(A), nor the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §
    
    706, authorizes judicial review of Sierra Club’s claims.                     Finally,
    
    the USDA argues that, to the extent that Sierra Club’s claims are
    
    judicially reviewable, the district court erred in finding that the
    
    USDA has not complied with its duties under § 7(a)(1).
    
    
                                           - 10 -
                                    1.      Mootness
    
          Before addressing the merits of the USDA’s appeal, however, we
    
    must first address whether the USDA’s appeal of Sierra Club’s §
    
    7(a)(1) claims is now moot.         In its motion to dismiss this appeal,
    
    Sierra Club asserts that the USDA may have taken steps to satisfy
    
    its consultation obligations under § 7(a)(1). The USDA opposes the
    
    motion to dismiss and Sierra Club points to no particular facts
    
    that would suggest that this appeal is moot with respect to its §
    
    7(a)(1) claims; rather, Sierra Club argues only that “it is unclear
    
    whether the USDA’s activities to which USFWS refers satisfy minimum
    
    § 7(a)(1) standards.”        In order to resolve this issue, Sierra Club
    
    moves this court to remand this issue to the district court for a
    
    factual determination.        Because the parties have not provided us
    
    with any    information      suggesting        that   the   USDA      has,   in   fact,
    
    complied with its obligations under § 7(a)(1),3 however, we will
    
    address the issues regarding § 7(a)(1) raised on appeal.
    
                                    2.      Standing
    
          We first address whether Sierra Club had standing to pursue
    
    this action.      See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment,
    
    --   U.S.   --,   118   S.   Ct.    1003     (1998).        At       an   “irreducible
    
    constitutional     minimum,”       to   have     standing,       a   plaintiff    must
    
    establish three elements.          First, the plaintiff must show that he
    
    
          3
             This failure to set forth sufficient information with respect to the §
    7(a)(1) claims stands in sharp contrast to the specific evidence set forth with
    respect to the mootness of the USDA’s appeal of Sierra Club’s § 7(a)(2) claims,
    discussed infra at Part III.B.
    
                                            - 11 -
    has suffered “an injury in fact -- a harm suffered by the plaintiff
    
    that is     concrete   and   actual    or   imminent,   not   conjectural   or
    
    hypothetical.”    Id. at --, 118 S. Ct. at 1016 (internal quotations
    
    omitted).     Second, the plaintiff must establish “causation -- a
    
    fairly traceable connection between the plaintiff’s injury and the
    
    complained-of conduct of the defendant.”          Id. at --, 118 S. Ct. at
    
    1016.   Finally, “there must be redressibility -- a likelihood that
    
    the requested relief will redress the alleged injury.             Id. at --,
    
    118 S. Ct. at 1017.
    
         At its core, Sierra Club’s complaint seeks to have the USDA
    
    comply with the procedural requirements of § 7(a)(1).              “Although
    
    the particular nature of a case does not -- and cannot -- eliminate
    
    any of the ‘irreducible’ elements of standing,” Florida Audubon
    
    Society v. Bentsen, 
    94 F.3d 658
    , 664 (D.C. Cir. 1996), in a
    
    procedural rights case, such as this, the plaintiff is not held to
    
    the normal standards for redressibility and immediacy, see Lujan v.
    
    Defenders of Wildlife, 
    504 U.S. 555
    , 573 n.7, 
    112 S. Ct. 2130
    , 2143
    
    n.7 (1992).    This does not mean, however, that a procedural rights
    
    plaintiff has standing merely because of the government’s failure
    
    to comply with the relevant procedural requirements.              See Id. at
    
    573, 112 S. Ct. at 2143.         Instead, the plaintiff must show an
    
    injury that is both concrete and particular, as opposed to an
    
    undifferentiated interest in the proper application of the law.
    
    Likewise, the plaintiff must establish that the injury is fairly
    
    traceable to the proposed government action or inaction.            Finally,
    
                                          - 12 -
    although a procedural rights plaintiff is not held to the normal
    
    standards for redressibility, in the sense that the plaintiff need
    
    not show that the procedural remedy that he is requesting will in
    
    fact redress his injury, the plaintiff must nonetheless show that
    
    there is a possibility that the procedural remedy will redress his
    
    injury.    In order to make this showing, the plaintiff must show
    
    that “the procedures in question are designed to protect some
    
    threatened concrete interest of [its] that is the ultimate basis of
    
    [its] standing.”     Id. at 573 n.8, 112 S. Ct. at 2143 n.8.
    
                                    a.    Injury
    
           In this case, Sierra Club alleged and set forth uncontradicted
    
    summary judgment evidence that the Edwards-dependent species were
    
    at “substantial, imminent risk” of jeopardy.            As the USDA itself
    
    admits, this constitutes a judicially cognizable injury under the
    
    ESA.   See Sierra Club v. Morton, 
    405 U.S. 722
    , 734, 
    92 S. Ct. 1361
    ,
    
    1366 (1972).     Although we agree that Sierra Club has suffered a
    
    judicially cognizable injury in this case, we are compelled to note
    
    what we are not deciding today.          This case does not present the
    
    question    of   whether   a   plaintiff      could   suffer   a   judicially
    
    cognizable injury under § 7(a)(1) merely because the particular
    
    species that the plaintiff is concerned about remains on the
    
    endangered or threatened species list, as opposed to actually
    
    suffering some further identifiable and particularized harm. Thus,
    
    we express no opinion as to whether a plaintiff would have standing
    
    to claim that a federal agency has not done enough to benefit a
    
                                         - 13 -
    particular species when that species is not in risk of jeopardy or
    
    taking or otherwise adversely affected.                 We likewise express no
    
    opinion as to whether a plaintiff could have standing to challenge
    
    a decision of a federal agency to adopt, after consultation with
    
    FWS, one program over another solely on the grounds that the
    
    program    not   adopted    would    do   more   for    the   recovery   of    the
    
    endangered or threatened species than the program that was adopted,
    
    when the program that was adopted would nonetheless either benefit
    
    or not adversely affect the species in question.
    
    
    
                                    b.    Causation
    
         The   USDA   does     argue,    however,    that    Sierra   Club   has   not
    
    established that its failure to consult and develop programs for
    
    the conservation of the Edwards-dependent species has caused Sierra
    
    Club’s injury.      According to the USDA, the injury suffered by
    
    Sierra Club is caused by the independent actions (i.e., pumping
    
    decisions) of third party farmers, over whom the USDA has no
    
    coercive control.        Although we recognize that causation is not
    
    proven “if the injury complained of is th[e] result [of] the
    
    independent action of some third party not before the court,”
    
    Bennett v. Spear, -- U.S. --, --, 
    117 S. Ct. 1154
    , 1164 (1997)
    
    (citation and quotation omitted) (emphasis in original), this does
    
    not mean that causation can be proven only if the governmental
    
    agency has coercive control over those third parties.               Rather, the
    
    relevant inquiry in this case is whether the USDA has the ability
    
                                          - 14 -
    through various programs to affect the pumping decisions of those
    
    third party farmers to such an extent that the plaintiff’s injury
    
    could be relieved.        In this respect, the USDA argues that “the most
    
    [that it] could do vis-a-vis farmers would be to encourage them to
    
    use water-conservation methods by offering incentives under the
    
    discretionary programs described . . . . However, there is no
    
    evidence that, if additional incentives were offered, there is a
    
    ‘substantial likelihood’ that injury at the springs would be
    
    relieved.”        As Sierra Club points out, however, this claim is
    
    directly contradicted by the summary judgment evidence.
    
         Three pieces of evidence are significant to a finding of
    
    causation    in    this    case.     The    first   document    is   Cooperative
    
    Solutions, a 1995 study (updated in 1996) conducted by the USDA in
    
    conjunction with Texas A&M University and the Texas State Soil and
    
    Water Conservation Board.           One of the programs proposed in that
    
    study   --   providing      financial      assistance    to   farmers   for   the
    
    installation of water conservation measures -- would save an
    
    estimated 38,000 acre-feet of Edwards irrigation water in an
    
    average year.       The savings would be even greater in a dry year.
    
    Not only does the USDA have the authority to carry out such a
    
    program, but the USDA itself has described the proposal as cost-
    
    effective.
    
         The second key document is the 1996 Biological Evaluation
    
    (“BE”), submitted by USDA to FWS during a § 7(a)(2) consultation
    
    concerning    crop    subsidy      payments    under    the   1990   farm   bill.
    
                                          - 15 -
    According to the USDA’s irrigation pumping estimates in that BE,
    
    38,000 acre-feet represent 20% of the total Edwards irrigation
    
    pumping in dry years, when the threat to the Edwards-dependent
    
    species is greatest, and a much greater percentage in an average
    
    year.
    
         The final link in this causal chain is FWS’s response to the
    
    1996 BE.      In its response, FWS concluded that the springflow
    
    effects of a 20% reduction in Edwards irrigation pumping would have
    
    a significant impact on the Edwards-dependent species.              In fact,
    
    FWS “categorically” disagreed with the USDA’s statement that a 20%
    
    decrease in Edwards irrigation pumping would have no significant
    
    effect on the Edwards-dependent species. Moreover, the USDA itself
    
    acknowledges that “FWS’s expertise extends to essentially factual
    
    issues regarding how particular actions affect listed species.”
    
         Given this evidence, we find the USDA’s claim that it has no
    
    effect   on   the    irrigation    decisions   of   the   farmers    to   be
    
    unpersuasive.       To the contrary, the evidence introduced clearly
    
    shows that the USDA’s failure to adopt any of the above programs is
    
    fairly traceable to the injury to the Edwards-dependent species.
    
                               c.     Redressibility
    
         Finally, we turn to the question of whether “the procedures in
    
    question are designed to protect some threatened concrete interest
    
    of [Sierra Club’s] that is the ultimate basis of [its] standing.”
    
    Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 573 n.8, 112 S. Ct. at 2143 n.8.
    
    In order to make this determination, we necessarily turn to the
    
                                        - 16 -
    language of the statute.        As noted above, § 7(a)(1) provides, in
    
    pertinent part, that “[a]ll other federal agencies shall, in
    
    consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary, utilize
    
    their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter by
    
    carrying out programs for the conservation of endangered species
    
    and threatened species listed pursuant to section 1533 of this
    
    title.”   16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(1) (emphasis added).            At first blush,
    
    this section appears to suggest that federal agencies have only a
    
    generalized duty to confer and develop programs for the benefit of
    
    endangered and threatened species -- i.e., not with respect to any
    
    particular species. If this reading were correct, we would be hard
    
    pressed to find standing in this case.4
    
          When read in the context of the ESA as a whole, however, we
    
    find that the agencies’ duties under § 7(a)(1) are much more
    
    specific and particular.
    
          As it was finally passed, the Endangered Species Act of 1973
          represented the most comprehensive legislation for the
          preservation of endangered species ever enacted by any nation.
          Its stated purposes were "to provide a means whereby the
          ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened
          species depend may be conserved," and "to provide a program
          for the conservation of such . . . species . . . ." 16
    
    
          4
             If the statute created only a generalized duty rather than a duty with
    respect to each endangered and threatened species, it would be pure speculation
    that an order from this court would remedy the particularized injury alleged by
    the plaintiff. Unlike other procedural rights cases in which the consultation
    ordered would necessarily take into account the plaintiff’s particularized
    injury, a duty to consult as to endangered and threatened species in a general
    sense would not necessarily address the specific injury alleged by the plaintiff.
    On the other hand, to the extent that the plaintiff alleged an interest in all
    endangered and threatened species based upon a systematic failure by a federal
    agency to consult as to endangered and threatened species in general, we note
    that such an injury would likely constitute a generalized grievance.
    
                                         - 17 -
         U.S.C. § 1531(b) (1976 ed.). In furtherance of these goals,
         Congress expressly stated in § 2(c) that "all Federal
         departments and agencies shall seek to conserve endangered
         species and threatened species . . . ." 16 U.S.C. § 1531(c)
         (1976 ed.). Lest there be any ambiguity as to the meaning of
         this statutory directive, the Act specifically defined
         "conserve" as meaning "to use and the use of all methods and
         procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species
         or threatened species to the point at which the measures
         provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary."
         § 1532(2).
    
    TVA v. Hill, 
    437 U.S. 153
    , 180, 
    98 S. Ct. 2279
    , 2294-95 (1978)
    
    (emphasis supplied by Supreme Court).       We find the Supreme Court’s
    
    examination of the meaning of “conserve” to be instructive as to
    
    the meaning of “conservation” under § 7(a)(1).        By imposing a duty
    
    on all federal agencies to use “all methods and procedures which
    
    are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species
    
    to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this
    
    chapter are no longer necessary,” 16 U.S.C. § 1532(2) (emphasis
    
    added), Congress was clearly concerned with the conservation of
    
    each endangered and threatened species.         To read the command of §
    
    7(a)(1) to mean that the agencies have only a generalized duty
    
    would ignore the plain language of the statute.
    
         That § 7(a)(1) imposes a duty on all federal agencies to
    
    consult   and   develop   programs   for    the   conservation   of   each
    
    endangered   and   threatened   species    is   further   supported   by   a
    
    statement made by Representative Dingell, the House manager of the
    
    bill, who stated:
    
         [Section 7] substantially amplifie[s] the obligation of
         [federal agencies] to take steps within their power to carry
         out the purposes of this act.     A recent article    . . .
    
                                     - 18 -
         illustrates the problem which might occur absent this new
         language in the bill. . . .
    
         Another example    . . .   [has] to do with the continental
         population of grizzly bears which may or may not be
         endangered, but which is surely threatened. . . . Once this
         bill is enacted, the appropriate Secretary, whether of
         Interior, Agriculture or whatever, will have to take action to
         see that this situation is not permitted to worsen, and that
         these bears are not driven to extinction. The purposes of the
         bill included the conservation of the species and of the
         ecosystems upon which they depend, and every agency of
         government is committed to see that those purposes are carried
         out. . . . [T]he agencies of Government can no longer plead
         that they can do nothing about it. They can, and they must.
         The law is clear.
    
    
    TVA v. Hill, 437 U.S. at 183-84, 98 S. Ct. at 2296 (citing 119
    
    Cong. Rec. 42913 (1973)) (emphasis added by the Supreme Court).
    
    Surely if each federal agency is required to take whatever action
    
    necessary to conserve the grizzly bear, then each federal agency
    
    must also be required to take whatever actions are necessary to
    
    ensure the survival of each endangered and threatened species.         If
    
    Congress was solely concerned with the conservation of the grizzly
    
    bear, it could have written a statute much more narrow in scope.
    
         Given the plain language of the statute and its legislative
    
    history,   we   conclude   that   Congress    intended   to   impose   an
    
    affirmative duty on each federal agency to conserve each of the
    
    species listed pursuant to § 1533.           In order to achieve this
    
    objective, the agencies must consult with FWS as to each of the
    
    
    
    
                                      - 19 -
    listed species, not just undertake a generalized consultation.5
    
    Consequently, we conclude that the procedures in question were
    
    designed to protect Sierra Club’s threatened concrete interest in
    
    this case.    Accordingly, we conclude that Sierra Club has standing
    
    to pursue this action.
    
                   2.   ESA Citizen Suit Provision & the APA
    
          The USDA next argues that neither the citizen suit provision
    
    of the EPA nor the APA supports Sierra Club’s complaint under §
    
    7(a)(1).     The citizen suit provision of the ESA provides that any
    
    person may commence a civil suit
    
          to enjoin any person, including the United States and any
          other governmental instrumentality or agency (to the extent
          permitted by the eleventh amendment to the Constitution), who
          is alleged to be in violation of any provision of this chapter
          or regulation issued under the authority thereof . . . .
    
    16 U.S.C. § 1540(g)(1)(A).        Relying on the Supreme Court’s recent
    
    decision in Bennett v. Spear, -- U.S. --, 
    117 S. Ct. 1154
     (1997),
    
    the USDA argues that this provision cannot be used to challenge the
    
    failure of a federal agency to follow the affirmative requirements
    
    of § 7(a)(1).       The USDA has misread the reach of Bennett.                In
    
    Bennett, the Supreme Court held only that § 1540(g)(1)(A) “is not
    
    an alternative avenue for judicial review of the Secretary[ of the
    
    
    
          5
             Of course, this duty to consult and duty to conserve is tempered by the
    actual authorities of each agency. See Platte River Whooping Crane Critical
    Habitat Maintenance Trust v. FERC, 
    962 F.2d 27
    , 34 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (holding that
    § 7(a)(1) does not expand an agency’s existing authorities to conserve endangered
    species). Whether a particular agency has the authority and/or ability to adopt
    programs for the benefit of a particular species, however, is a question on the
    merits, not relevant to a standing inquiry.
    
    
                                         - 20 -
    Interior’s] implementation of the statute.”                Id. at --, 117 S. Ct.
    
    at 1166.    To hold otherwise, the Supreme Court reasoned, would be
    
    “incompatible     with   the    existence       of   §     1540(g)(1)(C),       which
    
    expressly authorizes suit against the Secretary [of the Interior],
    
    but only to compel him to perform a nondiscretionary duty under §
    
    1533. That provision would be superfluous -- and, worse still, its
    
    careful    limitation    to    §   1533    would     be     nullified    --     if   §
    
    1540(g)(1)(A)     permitted     suit     against     the     Secretary    [of     the
    
    Interior] for any ‘violation’ of the ESA.”                 Id. at --, 117 S. Ct.
    
    at 1166. The Supreme Court did, however, agree with the government
    
    that § 1540(g)(1)(A) “is a means by which private parties may
    
    enforce the substantive provisions of the ESA against any regulated
    
    party -- both private entities and Government agencies.” Id. at -,
    
    117 S. Ct at 1166 (emphasis added).             Given this reasoning and the
    
    Court’s specific focus on the Secretary of the Interior, we find
    
    the government’s reliance on Bennett unpersuasive.                      Finding no
    
    other persuasive reasons offered in support of the government’s
    
    position, and in light of the clear language of the statute, we
    
    conclude that the ESA’s citizen suit provision supports Sierra
    
    Club’s cause of action under § 7(a)(1).
    
          Even assuming that the citizen suit provision of the ESA did
    
    not support Sierra Club’s cause of action under § 7(a)(1),6 we
    
          6
             Given our conclusion that Sierra Club’s cause of action under § 7(a)(1)
    can be brought pursuant to the citizen suit provision of the ESA, we normally
    would not address whether Sierra Club could also maintain that action under the
    APA. By its terms, the APA provides a right to judicial review of all “final
    agency action for there is no other remedy in a court.” 5 U.S.C. § 704. We
    
                                           - 21 -
    would nonetheless find that its cause of action could be brought
    
    under the APA.     Under the APA, any person “adversely affected or
    
    aggrieved by agency action,” 5 U.S.C. § 702, may petition a court
    
    to “set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be
    
    . . . arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise
    
    not in accordance with the law,” or to “compel agency action
    
    unlawfully withheld.”     5 U.S.C. § 706.      In this case, the USDA does
    
    not dispute that Sierra Club is a person adversely affected or
    
    aggrieved within the meaning of § 7(a)(1).         The USDA does, however,
    
    challenge the applicability of the APA on two other grounds.
    
         First, the USDA argues that its duties under § 7(a)(1) are not
    
    judicially reviewable because there is “no law to apply.”                 In
    
    general, there is no law to apply if the statute is drawn in such
    
    broad terms that in a given case there would be nothing against
    
    which a court could measure agency compliance with the statute.
    
    See Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe, 
    401 U.S. 402
    , 410-
    
    11, 
    91 S. Ct. 814
    , 820 (1971).              The USDA’s argument in this
    
    respect, however, relies, in large part, on its argument that §
    
    7(a)(1) does not impose a duty on the federal agencies to consult
    
    with FWS and develop programs for the conservation of each of the
    
    endangered and threatened species.          As noted above in our standing
    
    discussion, however, we find that § 7(a)(1) contains a clear
    
    statutory directive (it uses the word “shall”) requiring the
    
    
    nevertheless address the USDA’s arguments under the APA because we find those
    arguments equally applicable to the citizen suit analysis.
    
                                       - 22 -
    federal    agencies     to    consult     and    develop    programs    for   the
    
    conservation of each of the endangered and threatened species
    
    listed pursuant to the statute. That Congress has passed a statute
    
    that is exceptionally broad in its effect, in the sense that it
    
    imposes a tremendous burden on the federal agencies to comply with
    
    its mandate, however, does not mean that it is written in such
    
    broad terms that in a given case there is no law to apply.                 On the
    
    contrary, given the specific requirements of § 7(a)(1), in any
    
    given case there is more than enough law against which a court can
    
    measure agency compliance.
    
          The USDA next argues that its duties under § 7(a)(1) are not
    
    judicially reviewable because it has a substantial amount of
    
    discretion in developing programs for the benefit of the Edwards-
    
    dependent species.       According to the USDA, because it enjoys a
    
    substantial amount of discretion as to ultimate program decisions,
    
    it has unreviewable discretion to ignore § 7(a)(1) altogether.
    
    This argument is entirely without merit.                   A mission agency’s
    
    discretion to make the final substantive decision under its program
    
    authorities     does    not   mean      that    the    agency   has    unlimited,
    
    unreviewable discretion.        See Bennett v. Spear, -- U.S. at --, 117
    
    S.   Ct.   at   1166   (“It   is   rudimentary        administrative    law   that
    
    discretion as to the substance of the ultimate decision does not
    
    confer discretion to ignore the required procedures of decision
    
    making.”); Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, 401 U.S. at 410-11,
    
    91 S. Ct. at 820.        Instead, it means that the court conducting
    
                                         - 23 -
    judicial review must require the agency to show that it has
    
    considered     the   relevant     factors     and   followed    the    required
    
    procedures, but that, if the agency has done so, the court may not
    
    substitute its judgment on the merits for the agency’s judgment.
    
    See Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, 401 U.S. at 412-15, 91 S.
    
    Ct. at 822-23.7
    
          In sum, we find that Sierra Club’s cause of action under §
    
    7(a)(1) is maintainable under the citizen suit provision of the
    
    ESA, and, even assuming that the citizen suit provision of the ESA
    
    did not support Sierra Club’s cause of action under § 7(a)(1), this
    
    action could be maintained under the APA.
    
                                3.   USDA Compliance
    
          We turn next to the government’s argument that it has complied
    
    with the requirements of § 7(a)(1) because the Edwards-dependent
    
    species have experienced incidental benefits from national USDA
    
    programs designed and carried out for other purposes.                 As Sierra
    
    
    
          7
             The USDA also contends that Sierra Club may not obtain judicial review
    under the APA on the grounds that there is no “final agency action,” 5 U.S.C. §
    706. Although the USDA does not set forth this argument in detail, it appears
    that the USDA is arguing that agency inaction can constitute “final agency
    action” only when there is a specific deadline for that action. The authority
    cited by the USDA in support of this argument, Brock v. Pierce County, 
    476 U.S. 253
    , 260 n.7, 
    106 S. Ct. 1834
    , 1839 n.7 (1986), however, stands for no such broad
    proposition.   Moreover, we find the USDA’s cursory argument to be entirely
    unconvincing. As noted above, under § 7(a)(1), each federal agency must consult
    with FWS and develop programs for the conservation of each endangered species
    that it can affect within its authorities. In this case, Sierra Club introduced
    evidence indicating that the USDA had never consulted with respect to any
    endangered or threatened species, let alone with respect to the Edwards-dependent
    species. Sierra Club also submitted evidence indicating that the USDA had no
    plans to begin such consultation in the future. Clearly the passage of over 25
    years without any action whatsoever with respect to any endangered or threatened
    species qualifies as “final agency action.”
    
                                         - 24 -
    Club points out, however, the USDA’s position directly conflicts
    
    with the plain language of § 7(a)(1), which requires each federal
    
    agency “in consultation with and with the assistance of [FWS]” to
    
    adopt programs “for the conservation of endangered species.”               The
    
    USDA simply cannot read out of existence § 7(a)(1)’s requirement
    
    that the USDA’s substantive conservation programs for the Edwards-
    
    dependent species be carried out “in consultation with and with the
    
    assistance of [FWS].”      In this case, there is no real dispute that
    
    the USDA has never fulfilled its obligations under § 7(a)(1) with
    
    respect to the Edwards-dependent species. Accordingly, we find the
    
    USDA’s argument unavailing.
    
                          4.     Scope of the Injunction
    
         As a final matter, we note that the USDA has not challenged
    
    the scope of the district court’s injunction with respect to §
    
    7(a)(1).    Thus, we need not address whether the district court
    
    properly ordered the USDA to develop, in consultation with FWS, “an
    
    organized   program    for     utilizing      USDA’s   authorities   for   the
    
    conservation of the Edwards-dependent endangered and threatened
    
    species as contemplated by the ESA.”
    
                                  B.   ESA § 7(a)(2)
    
         The USDA also appeals the district court’s judgment with
    
    respect to Sierra Club’s claims under § 7(a)(2) of the ESA.
    
    Section 7(a)(2) provides:
    
         Each federal agency shall, in consultation with and with the
         assistance of the Secretary, insure that any action
         authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency (hereinafter
    
                                         - 25 -
         in this section referred to as an “agency action”) is not
         likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered
         species or threatened species or result in the destruction or
         adverse modification of habitat of such species which is
         determined by the Secretary, after consultation as appropriate
         with affected States, to be critical, unless such agency has
         been granted an exemption for such action by the Committee
         pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. In fulfilling the
         requirements of this paragraph each agency shall use the best
         scientific and commercial data available.
    
    
    16 U.S.C. § 1536(a)(2). Sierra Club claimed that the USDA breached
    
    its duties under § 7(a)(2) by making payments under the 1996 FAIR
    
    Act without engaging in formal consultation with FWS or otherwise
    
    ensuring that these payments would not cause jeopardy to Edwards-
    
    dependent   species.     The    district      court   agreed,   finding   that
    
    “payments through the 1996 farm bill to producers over the next
    
    seven years may adversely affect Edwards-dependent species, . . .
    
    constitute irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources,
    
    . . . [and] foreclose reasonable and prudent alternatives to
    
    conservation of the Edwards Aquifer.” Based on these findings, the
    
    court   ordered   the   USDA   to   complete     informal   consultation   by
    
    November 1, 1996.
    
         The USDA seeks to attack this judgment on three grounds.
    
    First, the USDA argues that Sierra Club does not have standing to
    
    pursue this claim under § 7(a)(2).           In particular, the USDA argues
    
    that Sierra Club’s claim that the USDA injures Edwards-dependent
    
    species by subsidizing pumping raises issues of traceability and
    
    redressibility, because the direct source of the alleged harm is
    
    not the USDA’s actions, but the pumping activities of area farmers
    
                                        - 26 -
    who are not before this court.        Second, the USDA argues that §
    
    7(a)(2) does not apply to the PFC payments in question because §
    
    7(a)(2) does not apply to nondiscretionary federal actions. See 50
    
    C.F.R. § 402.03 (“Section 7 and the requirements of this part apply
    
    to all actions in which there is discretionary Federal involvement
    
    or control.”).       Finally, the USDA argues that the pumping by
    
    farmers is not “action authorized, funded, or carried out” by a
    
    federal agency, and, thus, not subject to § 7(a)(2) consultation.
    
    We need not reach these issues, however, because we find the USDA’s
    
    appeal with respect to § 7(a)(2) moot.
    
          On November 24, 1997, Sierra Club filed a motion to dismiss
    
    this appeal with respect to § 7(a)(2) on the grounds that, while
    
    the   appeal   was   pending,   the   USDA    completed    its   Biological
    
    Evaluation of the impact that the PFC payments would have on
    
    Edwards-dependent species and submitted it to the FWS.            In short,
    
    the Biological Evaluation concludes that the PFC payments would not
    
    adversely   affect   Edwards-dependent       species.     By   letter   dated
    
    November 6, 1998, FWS concurred in the USDA’s conclusion.               Sierra
    
    Club now argues that this appeal is moot with respect to its §
    
    7(a)(2) claims because the USDA has complied with the district
    
    court’s order on this issue.
    
          In general, a matter is moot for Article III purposes if the
    
    issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally
    
    cognizable interest in the outcome.          See Campanioni v. Barr, 
    962 F.2d 461
    , 464 (5th Cir. 1992).             By submitting the Biological
    
                                      - 27 -
    Evaluation to FWS, the USDA clearly fulfilled whatever obligations
    
    it had as a result of the district court’s order to complete
    
    informal consultation.     In addition, because FWS concurred in the
    
    USDA’s conclusion, formal consultation is not required.             See 50
    
    C.F.R. § 402.13(a).    Thus, there is no relief that can be obtained
    
    from this court.
    
         Nonetheless, the USDA contends that this case is not moot on
    
    two grounds.    First, the USDA argues that this case is not moot
    
    because there is a live controversy as to whether Sierra Club has
    
    standing to bring this action.       According to the USDA, this court
    
    “has a special obligation to ‘satisfy itself not only of its own
    
    jurisdiction, but also that of the lower courts in a cause under
    
    review.’”    Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 
    475 U.S. 543
    ,
    
    541, 
    106 S. Ct. 1326
    , 1331 (1986) (quoting Mitchell v. Maurer, 
    293 U.S. 237
    , 244, 
    55 S. Ct. 162
    , 165 (1934)).           Although we recognize
    
    that the Supreme Court has recently held that federal courts must
    
    be certain that a plaintiff has standing before addressing the
    
    merits of a particular case, see Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
    
    Environment, -- U.S. --, 
    118 S. Ct. 1003
     (1998), we do not read
    
    that case as making standing the threshold issue that a court must
    
    address;    rather,   we   read   that   case   as    making   Article   III
    
    jurisdiction, of which standing, mootness, and ripeness are equally
    
    important parts, the threshold issue that a court must address.
    
    When two or more Article III jurisdictional grounds are presented
    
    to the court as grounds for dismissing the action, we do not think
    
                                       - 28 -
    that the court need address all of those arguments or address the
    
    arguments in any particular order.                 Compare Marathon Oil Co. v.
    
    Ruhrgas, 
    1998 WL 329842
     (5th Cir. 1998) (en banc) (confirming the
    
    primacy of deciding Article III subject matter jurisdiction issues
    
    prior to personal jurisdiction issues, which arise out of the due
    
    process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).                      Accordingly, we
    
    reject   the    USDA’s    argument        that    there    is    an   ongoing   live
    
    controversy before this court with respect to Sierra Club’s §
    
    7(a)(2) claims.
    
         Alternatively, the USDA argues that this appeal falls under
    
    the exception to the mootness doctrine in that this controversy is
    
    capable of repetition but evading review.                 See Henschen v. City of
    
    Houston, 
    959 F.2d 584
    , 589 (5th Cir. 1992).                     In short, the USDA
    
    argues that this court must determine whether plaintiffs may bring
    
    a challenge under § 7(a)(2) to nondiscretionary payments under the
    
    FAIR Act of 1996 so that it will not have to defend future suits by
    
    the plaintiffs.         In making this argument, the USDA turns this
    
    exception on its head.         In general, the exception is designed to
    
    allow plaintiffs to obtain a judgment in cases where “(1) the
    
    challenged     action    is   in   its    duration     too   short    to   be   fully
    
    litigated prior to its cessation or expiration, and (2) there [is]
    
    a reasonable expectation that the same complaining party would be
    
    subject to the same action again.”                Murphy v. Hunt, 
    455 U.S. 478
    ,
    
    482, 
    102 S. Ct. 1191
    , 1183 (1982) (quotation omitted).                  By its very
    
    terms, the exception is designed to protect plaintiffs; it is not
    
                                             - 29 -
    designed to protect defendants from the possibility of future
    
    lawsuits, when the sole reason that the case is moot is a direct
    
    result of the defendant’s voluntary compliance with the district
    
    court’s order.
    
          As a final matter, the USDA argues, relying on United States
    
    v. Munsinger, Inc., 
    340 U.S. 36
    , 
    71 S. Ct. 104
     (1950), that, in the
    
    event that we find the § 7(a)(2) issue moot, we should remand with
    
    instructions to vacate that part of the district court’s judgment.
    
    In U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co. v. Bonner Mall Partnership, 
    513 U.S. 18
    , 
    115 S. Ct. 386
     (1994), however, the Supreme Court held that,
    
    where mootness results from the voluntary actions of the losing
    
    party, such party has “forfeited his legal remedy by the ordinary
    
    processes of appeal or certiorari, thereby surrendering his claim
    
    to the equitable remedy of vacatur.”           Id. at 24, 115 S. Ct. at 392.
    
    Because this issue has been rendered moot by the USDA’s voluntary
    
    compliance with the district court’s judgment, we decline to direct
    
    the district court to vacate its judgment in this case with respect
    
    to § 7(a)(2).8
    
                               C.   Count I Statutes
    
          We turn next to the USDA’s argument that the district court
    
    erred   in   finding    that    the    USDA    had   unlawfully   refused    or
    
          8
              In declining to vacate the district court’s judgment, however, we
    express no opinion as to the propriety of the district court’s conclusion that
    Sierra Club had standing to pursue its claims under § 7(a)(2). In the event that
    Sierra Club subsequently moves for an award of attorney’s fees, the district
    court should reexamine its conclusion that Sierra Club had standing to pursue
    this claim in light of the standing analysis set forth in Part III.A.2 of this
    opinion.
    
                                          - 30 -
    unreasonably delayed developing and implementing programs under the
    
    following     statutes:        (1)   the     Agriculture      and    Water   Policy
    
    Coordination Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 5401-5405; (2) related provisions
    
    that establish a USDA Council on Environmental Quality, 7 U.S.C. §§
    
    5501-5506; and (3) the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, 7 U.S.C. §
    
    1010 (collectively referred to as the “Count I statutes”).                       The
    
    district court found that these statutes required the USDA to
    
    develop and implement programs to protect waters from contamination
    
    and    to   prevent   environmental         problems   that    may    result   from
    
    agricultural production as it relates to Edwards-dependent species.
    
           As before, we begin our analysis by examining whether Sierra
    
    Club   had   standing     to    bring      these   claims.     This    inquiry   is
    
    relatively straightforward.          Unlike the evidence it presented with
    
    respect to § 7(a)(1), Sierra Club has failed to set forth any
    
    evidence showing that its injury at the springs is fairly traceable
    
    to the USDA’s failure to implement the Count I statutes. Likewise,
    
    Sierra Club has failed to demonstrate in any way that an order
    
    requiring the USDA to comply with the Count I statutes would
    
    redress its injury at the springs.                 In the end, as Sierra Club
    
    itself tacitly admits in its brief, Sierra Club has set forth
    
    nothing more than a generalized grievance. Thus, these claims fall
    
    squarely within the rule reiterated in Defenders of Wildlife that
    
    “a plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about
    
    government -- claiming harm and relief that no more directly or
    
    tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large -- does not
    
                                            - 31 -
    state an Article III case or controversy.”   504 U.S. at 573-74, 112
    
    S. Ct. at 2143.    Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the
    
    district court with respect to the Count I statutes and render
    
    judgment on those claims in favor of the USDA.
    
                             IV.   Conclusion
    
         For the reasons set forth above, we AFFIRM the judgment of the
    
    district court with respect to its finding that the USDA has not
    
    complied with its duties under § 7(a)(1) of the ESA, REVERSE the
    
    decision of the district court with respect to its findings as to
    
    the Count I statutes on the grounds that Sierra Club lacked
    
    standing to bring a cause of action under those statutes, and
    
    DISMISS the USDA’s appeal with respect to Sierra Club’s § 7(a)(2)
    
    claims as MOOT.   Consequently, this case is REMANDED for further
    
    proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
    
    
    
    
                                   - 32 -