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Sierra Club v. Department of Energy

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20435
Nos. No. 97-B-529, 150 F. Supp. 2d 1099/(D. Colo., 02/02/2001)

The court dismisses on ripeness grounds an environmental group's claim that the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and Executive Order No. 11990 with respect to the proposed expansion of a gravel mining operation located on Rocky Flats, a federal property in Colorado. The court holds that the group's suit is not ripe for review. Because no expanded mining activities are ongoing or even imminent, the group will suffer no hardship by the denial of review at this time. All the group can presently allege is that if the proposed mining expansion is approved and developed, it may detrimentally impact the environment. The group's claims are contingent, not certain or immediate. Further, any judicial intervention in the agency process at this time would interfere improperly with legislatively established requirements and procedures, and the issues presented by the parties would benefit from further factual development. The court, therefore, dismisses the group's claims without prejudice.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (15 pp., ELR Order No. L-334).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Stephen D. Taylor
U.S. Attorney's Office
1200 Federal Office Bldg.
1961 Stout St., Denver CO 80294
(303) 844-2081

Counsel for Defendants
Charles Carson
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000