This is a challenge to a biological opinion issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), 87 Stat. 884, as amended, 16 U. S. C. § 1531 et seq., concerning the operation of the Klamath Irrigation Project by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the project's impact on two varieties of endangered fish. The question for decision is whether the petitioners, who have competing economic and other interests in Klamath Project water, have standing to seek judicial review of the biological opinion under the citizen-suit provision of the ESA, § 1540(g)(1), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 80 Stat. 392, as amended, 5 U. S. C. § 701 et seq.
The ESA requires the Secretary of the Interior to promulgate regulations listing those species of animals that are "threatened" or "endangered" under specified criteria, and
The Klamath Project, one of the oldest federal reclamation schemes, is a series of lakes, rivers, dams, and irrigation canals in northern California and southern Oregon. The project was undertaken by the Secretary of the Interior
Petitioners, two Oregon irrigation districts that receive Klamath Project water and the operators of two ranches within those districts, filed the present action against the director and regional director of the Service and the Secretary of the Interior. Neither the Bureau nor any of its officials is named as defendant. The complaint asserts that the Bureau "has been following essentially the same procedures for storing and releasing water from Clear Lake and Gerber reservoirs throughout the twentieth century," id., at 36; that "[t]here is no scientifically or commercially available evidence indicating that the populations of endangered suckers in Clear Lake and Gerber reservoirs have declined, are declining, or will decline as a result" of the Bureau's operation of the Klamath Project, id., at 37; that "[t]here is no commercially or scientifically available evidence indicating that the restrictions on lake levels imposed in the Biological Opinion
Petitioners' complaint included three claims for relief that are relevant here. The first and second claims allege that the Service's jeopardy determination with respect to Clear Lake and Gerber reservoirs, and the ensuing imposition of minimum water levels, violated § 7 of the ESA, 16 U. S. C. § 1536. The third claim is that the imposition of minimum water elevations constituted an implicit determination of critical habitat for the suckers, which violated § 4 of the ESA, 16 U. S. C. § 1533(b)(2), because it failed to take into consideration the designation's economic impact.
The complaint asserts that petitioners' use of the reservoirs and related waterways for "recreational, aesthetic and commercial purposes, as well as for their primary sources of irrigation water," will be "irreparably damaged" by the actions complained of, App. to Pet. for Cert. 34, and that the restrictions on water delivery "recommended" by the Biological Opinion "adversely affect plaintiffs by substantially reducing the quantity of available irrigation water," id., at 40. In essence, petitioners claim a competing interest in the water the Biological Opinion declares necessary for the preservation of the suckers.
The District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. It concluded that petitioners did not have
In this Court, petitioners raise two questions: first, whether the prudential standing rule known as the "zone of interests" test applies to claims brought under the citizensuit provision of the ESA; and second, if so, whether petitioners have standing under that test notwithstanding that the interests they seek to vindicate are economic rather than environmental. In this Court, the Government has made no effort to defend the reasoning of the Court of Appeals. Instead, it advances three alternative grounds for affirmance: (1) that petitioners fail to meet the standing requirements imposed by Article III of the Constitution; (2) that the ESA's citizen-suit provision does not authorize judicial review of the types of claims advanced by petitioners; and (3) that judicial review is unavailable under the APA because the Biological Opinion does not constitute final agency action.
We first turn to the question the Court of Appeals found dispositive: whether petitioners lack standing by virtue of the zone-of-interests test. Although petitioners contend that their claims lie both under the ESA and the APA, we look first at the ESA because it may permit petitioners to recover their litigation costs, see 16 U. S. C. § 1540(g)(4), and because the APA by its terms independently authorizes review
The question of standing "involves both constitutional limitations on federal-court jurisdiction and prudential limitations on its exercise." Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975) (citing Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953)). To satisfy the "case" or "controversy" requirement of Article III, which is the "irreducible constitutional minimum" of standing, a plaintiff must, generally speaking, demonstrate that he has suffered "injury in fact," that the injury is "fairly traceable" to the actions of the defendant, and that the injury will likely be redressed by a favorable decision. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-561 (1992); Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471-472 (1982). In addition to the immutable requirements of Article III, "the federal judiciary has also adhered to a set of prudential principles that bear on the question of standing." Id., at 474-475. Like their constitutional counterparts, these "judicially self-imposed limits on the exercise of federal jurisdiction," Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984), are "founded in concern about the proper—and properly limited—role of the courts in a democratic society," Warth, supra, at 498; but unlike their constitutional counterparts, they can be modified or abrogated by Congress, see 422 U. S., at 501. Numbered among these prudential requirements is the doctrine of particular concern in this case: that a plaintiff's grievance must arguably fall within the zone of interests protected or regulated by the statutory provision or constitutional guarantee invoked in the suit. See Allen, supra, at 751; Valley Forge, supra, at 474-475.
The "zone of interests" formulation was first employed in Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150 (1970). There, certain data processors sought to invalidate a ruling by the Comptroller of the Currency authorizing national banks to sell data processing
Congress legislates against the background of our prudential standing doctrine, which applies unless it is expressly negated. See Block v. Community Nutrition Institute, 467 U.S. 340, 345-348 (1984). Cf. Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 532-533, and n. 28
Our readiness to take the term "any person" at face value is greatly augmented by two interrelated considerations: that the overall subject matter of this legislation is the environment (a matter in which it is common to think all persons have an interest) and that the obvious purpose of the particular provision in question is to encourage enforcement by so-called "private attorneys general"—evidenced by its elimination of the usual amount-in-controversy and diversity-ofcitizenship requirements, its provision for recovery of the costs of litigation (including even expert witness fees), and its reservation to the Government of a right of first refusal to pursue the action initially and a right to intervene later. Given these factors, we think the conclusion of expanded standing follows a fortiori from our decision in Trafficante v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 409 U.S. 205 (1972), which held that standing was expanded to the full extent permitted under Article III by § 810(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 82 Stat. 85, 42 U. S. C. § 3610(a) (1986 ed.), that authorized
It is true that the plaintiffs here are seeking to prevent application of environmental restrictions rather than to implement them. But the "any person" formulation applies to all the causes of action authorized by § 1540(g)—not only to actions against private violators of environmental restrictions, and not only to actions against the Secretary asserting underenforcment under § 1533, but also to actions against the Secretary asserting over enforcement under § 1533. As we shall discuss below, the citizen-suit provision does favor environmentalists in that it covers all private violations of the ESA but not all failures of the Secretary to meet his administrative responsibilities; but there is no textual basis for saying that its expansion of standing requirements applies to environmentalists alone. The Court of Appeals therefore erred in concluding that petitioners lacked standing under the zone-of-interests test to bring their claims under the ESA's citizen-suit provision.
The Government advances several alternative grounds upon which it contends we may affirm the dismissal of petitioners' suit. Because the District Court and the Court of Appeals found the zone-of-interests ground to be dispositive, these alternative grounds were not reached below. A respondent is entitled, however, to defend the judgment on any ground supported by the record, see Ponte v. Real, 471 U.S. 491, 500 (1985); Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Epstein, 516 U.S. 367, 379, n. 5 (1996). The asserted grounds were
The Government's first contention is that petitioners' complaint fails to satisfy the standing requirements imposed by the "case" or "controversy" provision of Article III. This "irreducible constitutional minimum" of standing requires: (1) that the plaintiff have suffered an "injury in fact"—an invasion of a judicially cognizable interest which is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) that there be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court; and (3) that it be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S., at 560-561.
Petitioners allege, among other things, that they currently receive irrigation water from Clear Lake, that the Bureau "will abide by the restrictions imposed by the Biological Opinion," App. to Pet. for Cert. 32, and that "[t]he restrictions on lake levels imposed in the Biological Opinion adversely affect [petitioners] by substantially reducing the quantity of available irrigation water," id., at 40. The Government contends, first, that these allegations fail to satisfy the "injury in fact" element of Article III standing because they demonstrate only a diminution in the aggregate amount of available water, and do not necessarily establish (absent information concerning the Bureau's water allocation practices) that petitioners will receive less water. This contention overlooks, however, the proposition that each element of Article III standing "must be supported in the same way as any other matter on which the plaintiff bears the burden
The Government also contests compliance with the second and third Article III standing requirements, contending that any injury suffered by petitioners is neither "fairly traceable" to the Service's Biological Opinion, nor "redressable" by a favorable judicial ruling, because the "action agency" (the Bureau) retains ultimate responsibility for determining whether and how a proposed action shall go forward. See 50 CFR § 402.15(a) (1995) ("Following the issuance of a biological opinion, the Federal agency shall determine whether and in what manner to proceed with the action in light of its section 7 obligations and the Service's biological opinion"). "If petitioners have suffered injury," the Government contends, "the proximate cause of their harm is an (as yet unidentified) decision by the Bureau regarding the volume of water allocated to petitioners, not the biological opinion itself." Brief for Respondents 22. This wrongly equates injury "fairly traceable" to the defendant with injury as to
By the Government's own account, while the Service's Biological Opinion theoretically serves an "advisory function," 51 Fed. Reg. 19928 (1986), in reality it has a powerful coercive effect on the action agency:
What this concession omits to say, moreover, is that the action agency must not only articulate its reasons for disagreement (which ordinarily requires species and habitat investigations that are not within the action agency's expertise), but that it runs a substantial risk if its (inexpert) reasons turn out to be wrong. A Biological Opinion of the sort rendered here alters the legal regime to which the action agency is subject. When it "offers reasonable and prudent alternatives"
The Service itself is, to put it mildly, keenly aware of the virtually determinative effect of its biological opinions. The Incidental Take Statement at issue in the present case begins by instructing the reader that any taking of a listed species is prohibited unless "such taking is in compliance with this incidental take statement," and warning that "[t]he measures described below are non discretionary, and must be taken by [the Bureau]." App. 92-93. Given all of this, and given petitioners' allegation that the Bureau had, until issuance of the Biological Opinion, operated the Klamath Project in the same manner throughout the 20th century, it is not
Next, the Government contends that the ESA's citizen-suit provision does not authorize judicial review of petitioners' claims. The relevant portions of that provision provide that
. . . . .
The Government argues that judicial review is not available under subsection (A) because the Secretary is not "in violation" of the ESA, and under subsection (C) because the Secretary has not failed to perform any nondiscretionary duty under § 1533.
Turning first to subsection (C): that it covers only violations of § 1533 is clear and unambiguous. Petitioners' first and second claims, which assert that the Secretary has violated § 1536, are obviously not reviewable under this provision. However, as described above, the third claim alleges
The Government seeks to avoid this result by appealing to the limitation in subsection (C) that the duty sought to be enforced not be "discretionary with the Secretary." But the terms of § 1533(b)(2) are plainly those of obligation rather than discretion: "The Secretary shall designate critical habitat, and make revisions thereto, . . . on the basis of the best scientific data available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat." (Emphasis added.) It is true that this is followed by the statement that, except where extinction of the species is at issue, "[t]he Secretary may exclude any area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat." Ibid. (emphasis added). However, the fact that the Secretary's ultimate decision is reviewable only for abuse of discretion does not alter the categorical requirement that, in arriving at his decision, he "tak[e] into consideration the economic impact, and any other relevant impact," and use "the best scientific data available." Ibid. 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. See SEC v. Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80, 94-95 (1943). Since it is the omission of these required procedures that petitioners complain of, their § 1533 claim is reviewable under § 1540(g)(1)(C).
Having concluded that petitioners' § 1536 claims are not reviewable under subsection (C), we are left with the question
The opposite contention is simply incompatible with the existence of § 1540(g)(1)(C), which expressly authorizes suit against the Secretary, 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 for any "violation" of the ESA. It is the "`cardinal principle of statutory construction' . . . [that] [i]t is our duty `to give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute' . . . rather than to emasculate an entire section." United States v. Menasche, 348 U.S. 528, 538 (1955) (quoting NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1, 30 (1937), and Montclair v. Ramsdell, 107 U.S. 147, 152 (1883)). Application of that principle here clearly requires us to conclude that the term "violation" does not include the Secretary's failure to perform his duties as administrator of the ESA.
Moreover, the ESA uses the term "violation" elsewhere in contexts in which it is most unlikely to refer to failure by the Secretary or other federal officers and employees to perform their duties in administering the ESA. Section 1540(a), for example, authorizes the Secretary to impose substantial civil penalties on "[a]ny person who knowingly violates. . . any provision of [the ESA]," and entrusts the Secretary with the power to "remi[t] or mitigat[e]" any such penalty. We know
Finally, interpreting the term "violation" to include any errors on the part of the Secretary in administering the ESA would effect a wholesale abrogation of the APA's "final agency action" requirement. Any procedural default, even one that had not yet resulted in a final disposition of the matter at issue, would form the basis for a lawsuit. We are loathe to produce such an extraordinary regime without the clearest of statutory direction, which is hardly present here.
Viewed in the context of the entire statute, § 1540(g) (1)(A)'s reference to any "violation" of the ESA cannot be interpreted to include the Secretary's maladministration of the ESA. Petitioners' claims are not subject to judicial review under § 1540(g)(1)(A).
The foregoing analysis establishes that the principal statute invoked by petitioners, the ESA, does authorize review of their § 1533 claim, but does not support their claims based upon the Secretary's alleged failure to comply with § 1536. To complete our task, we must therefore inquire whether these § 1536 claims may nonetheless be brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, which authorizes 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 law," 5 U. S. C. § 706.
No one contends (and it would not be maintainable) that the causes of action against the Secretary set forth in the ESA's citizen-suit provision are exclusive, supplanting those provided by the APA. The APA, by its terms, provides a right to judicial review of all "final agency action for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court," § 704, and applies universally "except to the extent that—(1) statutes preclude judicial review; or (2) agency action is committed to agency discretion by law," § 701(a). Nothing in the ESA's citizen-suit provision expressly precludes review under the APA, nor do we detect anything in the statutory scheme suggesting a purpose to do so. And any contention that the relevant provision of 16 U. S. C. § 1536(a)(2) is discretionary would fly in the face of its text, which uses the imperative "shall."
In determining whether the petitioners have standing under the zone-of-interests test to bring their APA claims, we look not to the terms of the ESA's citizen-suit provision, but to the substantive provisions of the ESA, the alleged violations of which serve as the gravamen of the complaint. See National Wildlife Federation, 497 U. S., at 886. The classic formulation of the zone-of-interests test is set forth in Data Processing, 397 U. S., at 153: "whether the interest sought to be protected by the complainant is arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional guarantee in question." The Court of Appeals concluded that this test was not met here, since petitioners are neither directly regulated by the ESA nor seek to vindicate its overarching purpose of species preservation. That conclusion was error.
Whether a plaintiff's interest is "arguably. . . protected. . . by the statute" within the meaning of the zone-ofinterests test is to be determined not by reference to the overall purpose of the Act in question (here, species preservation), but by reference to the particular provision of law
In the claims that we have found not to be covered by the ESA's citizen-suit provision, petitioners allege a violation of § 7 of the ESA, 16 U. S. C. § 1536, which requires, inter alia, that each agency "use the best scientific and commercial data available," § 1536(a)(2). Petitioners contend that the available scientific and commercial data show that the continued operation of the Klamath Project will not have a detrimental impact on the endangered suckers, that the imposition of minimum lake levels is not necessary to protect the fish, and that by issuing a Biological Opinion which makes unsubstantiated findings to the contrary the defendants have acted arbitrarily and in violation of § 1536(a)(2). The obvious purpose of the requirement that each agency "use the best scientific and commercial data available" is to ensure that the ESA not be implemented haphazardly, on the basis of speculation or surmise. While this no doubt serves to advance the ESA's overall goal of species preservation, we think it readily apparent that another objective (if not indeed the primary one) is to avoid needless economic dislocation
The Government contends that petitioners may not obtain judicial review under the APA on the theory that the Biological Opinion does not constitute "final agency action," 5 U. S. C. § 704, because it does not conclusively determine the manner in which Klamath Project water will be allocated:
This confuses the question whether the Secretary's action is final with the separate question whether petitioners' harm is "fairly traceable" to the Secretary's action (a question we have already resolved against the Government, see Part III—A, supra ). As a general matter, two conditions must be satisfied for agency action to be "final": First, the action must
* * *
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
"(A) 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; or
. . . . .
"(C) against the Secretary where there is alleged a failure of the Secretary to perform any act or duty under section 1533 of this title which is not discretionary with the Secretary. "The district courts shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to enforce any such provision or regulation, or to order the Secretary to perform such act or duty, as the case may be. . . .
"(2)(A) No action may be commenced under subparagraph (1)(A) of this section—
"(i) prior to sixty days after written notice of the violation has been given to the Secretary, and to any alleged violator of any such provision or regulation;
"(ii) if the Secretary has commenced action to impose a penalty pursuant to subsection (a) of this section; or
"(iii) if the United States has commenced and is diligently prosecuting a criminal action. . . to redress a violation of any such provision or regulation.
. . . . .
"(3)(B) In any such suit under this subsection in which the United States is not a party, the Attorney General, at the request of the Secretary, may intervene on behalf of the United States as a matter of right.
"(4) The court, in issuing any final order in any suit brought pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) to any party, whenever the court determines such award is appropriate." 16 U. S. C. § 1540(g).