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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Morton

Citation: 5 ELR 20362
No. No. 74-1215, 393 F. Supp. 1286/7 ERC 2128/(D.D.C., 05/02/1975)

The Bureau of Land Management's regulations governing the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on public lands administered by the agency fail to comply with the requirements of Executive Order 11644 and NEPA. By designating all otherwise unrestricted public lands as "open" use areas, BLM has violated the Order's requirement that all designations be based on specific environmental criteria, and in any event, the designation criteria set forth in the regulations fail to conform to those mandated by the Order. In addition, this blanket "open" designation was made without the public participation required by the Order, and BLM has failed to set a date by which designation shall be completed or to ensure that all public lands will be designated either open or closed to ORV traffic. The court also rules that the EIS prepared for the regulations violated NEPA by failing to consider reasonable alternatives to the designation approach which was adopted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Oliver A. Houck
Joel T. Thomas
National Wildlife Federation
1412 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Counsel for Defendants
William M. Cohen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530