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Weekly Cases Update Volume 50, Issue 21

Northern Alaska Environmental Center v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR 20169
19-35008 (9th Cir., July 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for BLM in a challenge to its 2017 offer and sale of oil and gas leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Environmental groups argued that BLM violated NEPA by failing to prepare an EA or EIS for the lease sale and failing to take a hard look...

Environmental impact statement (EIS)

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Bodine

ELR 20165
20 Civ. 3058 (CM) (S.D.N.Y., July 2020)

A district court granted EPA's cross-motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit concerning the Agency's issuance of a temporary policy that scaled back enforcement efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental justice, public health, and public interest groups petitioned EPA to issue an...

Enforcement and Compliance

Crow Indian Tribe v. United States

ELR 20167
18-36030 (9th Cir., July 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and remanded in part a district court order remanding to FWS several issues concerning its 2017 rule removing ESA protections for the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population. The district court held that FWS failed to adequately consider the impact of...

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Buffalo Field Campaign v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR 20164
CV 19-165-M-DWM (D. Mont., July 2020)

A district court granted in part and denied in part cross-motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit seeking FOIA disclosure of records concerning Yellowstone National Park's policy on the size of its bison population. A nonprofit group argued that the National Park Service (NPS) unlawfully...

Deliberative-process privilege

Board of County Commissioners of Boulder County v. Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc.

ELR 20161
19-1330 (10th Cir., July 2020)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court ruling that remanded to state court a climate change lawsuit against oil companies for contributing to global warming-related damage in Colorado. Three local government entities argued before state court that they faced substantial and rising costs to...

Climate Change (generally)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

ELR 20168
16-1534 (JEB) (D.D.C., July 2020)

A district court vacated the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant an easement under the Mineral Leasing Act for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which runs from North Dakota to Illinois, after previously ruling that the Corps must prepare an EIS for the pipeline to comply with NEPA. The court...

Environmental impact statement (EIS)

Sierra Club v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

ELR 20162
18-9507 (10th Cir., July 2020)

The Tenth Circuit held that EPA erred in denying an environmental group's petition to review the renewal of a state-issued Title V operating permit for a coal-fired power plant in Utah. The group's petition argued that EPA should object to the renewal because it failed to "assure compliance"...

Operating permits,§§501-507

American Wild Horse Campaign v. Bernhardt

ELR 20159
18-17403 (9th Cir., July 2020)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for BLM in a challenge to the agency's "geld and release" plan for wild horses in northeastern Nevada. An animal rights group argued that BLM violated NEPA by failing to prepare an EIS for the plan because five of the Act's intensity factors...

Held not required for

Helena Hunters and Anglers Ass'n v. Marten

ELR 20163
CV 19-47-M-DLC (D. Mont., July 2020)

A district court granted in part summary judgment for nonprofit groups in a suit concerning a logging project in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. One group argued the project violated the Roadless Rule because the Forest Service was surreptitiously planning to construct new roads in...

Alternatives, Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Sawtooth Mountain Ranch LLC v. United States

ELR 20160
1:19-cv-0118-CWD (D. Idaho, June 2020)

A district court denied a motion to preliminarily enjoin the Forest Service from constructing a recreation trail across private property located in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The property owners argued that construction of the trail required activities directly adjacent to designated...

National recreation areas