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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Clark

Citation: 14 ELR 20227
No. No. 83-2648, 577 F. Supp. 825/20 ERC 1346/(D.D.C., 01/09/1984, 01/10/1984) Plaintiffs granted summary judgment

The court rules that the Department of the Interior (DOI) must conduct a rulemaking if it wants to rescind an arguably unconstitutional regulation implementing § 204(e) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), which empowers the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee to order withdrawal of lands from coal leasing. The court first rules that the controversy is not moot despite passage of a federal law temporarily staying coal leasing. The court declines to wait until the stay expires to decide the case. It rejects DOI's argument that the Department could declare § 204(e) unconstitutional and rescind the regulation without conducting rulemaking because it was not "validly prescribed." The court rules that FLPMA requires DOI to follow the Administrative Procedure Act in rescinding as well as creating regulations: both must be done under a process subject to judicial review. The court grants summary judgment to plaintiffs and orders defendant to abide by the regulation until it is legally rescinded.

[Previous opinions in this case appear at 14 ELR 20043, 20044 — Ed.]

Counsel are listed at 14 ELR 20043.