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American Motorcyclist Ass'n v. Watt

Citation: 12 ELR 20846
No. Nos. CV 80-5561-AWT et al., 534 F. Supp. 923/17 ERC 2191/(C.D. Cal., 12/01/1981) Preliminary injunction denied

The court refuses to preliminarly enjoin the Secretary of the Interior from implementing the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan, prepared pursuant to §601 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). Initially, the court rules that in environmental cases a preliminary injunction should not issue unless the public interest will be advanced. The court also rules that plaintiff organizations, which use the California Desert for recreation, have alleged sufficient injuries to satisfy the Article III "injury-in-fact" standing requirement. In addition, the County of Inyo has standing to protect its proprietary interests in the desert but not to sue to protect interests of citizens and taxpayers. Plaintiff organizations and the county also fall within the "zone-of-interests" to be protected by FLPMA since §601 specifically requires the consideration of use by off-road recreational vehicles and of state and local land use plans. However, plaintiffs have not alleged any environmental harm to bring them within the zone-of-interests to be protected by the National Environmental Policy Act. Thus, they may not challenge the adequacy of the environmental impact statement prepared for the plan. The court concludes that the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) planning regulations apply to the CDCA planning process and that there is a strong likelihood that plaintiffs can prove that BLM violated the regulations in preparing the plan. However, the court rules that injunctive relief is not warranted since plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they will suffer irreparable harm, that the balance of hardships tips in their favor, or that injunctive relief will benefit the public.

Counsel for Plaintiff American Motorcyclist Ass'n
Robert E. Hinerfeld
Murphy, Thornton, Hinerfeld & Cahill
7447 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles CA 90041
(213) 624-9900

Counsel for Plaintiff Cty. of Inyo
Dennis L. Myers, Cty. Counsel
128 Elmcrest, Big Pine CA 93513
(714) 938-2427

Counsel for Plaintiff Nat'l Outdoor Coalition
Karen L. Patterson
Kinsella, Broesch, Fujikawa & Towle
Suite 1600, 1875 Century Pk. E., Los Angeles CA 90067
(213) 552-9496

Counsel for Plaintiffs Cal. Native Plant Soc'y et al.
Laurens H. Silver
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Inc.
2044 Fillmore St., San Francisco CA 94115
(415) 567-6100

Counsel for Defendants
Andrea Sheridan Ordin, U.S. Attorney; Frederick M. Brosio, James R. Arnold
312 N. Spring St., Rm. 1269, Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2434

Robert E. Conover, Field Solicitor
Department of the Interior
3610 Central Ave., Suite 104, Riverside CA 92506
(714) 787-6496