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Norton v. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20034
Nos. No. 03-101, (U.S., 06/14/2004)

The U.S. Supreme Court held that an environmental group could not sue the BLM under APA §706(1) for failure to act to protect public lands from environmental damage caused by off-road vehicles (ORVs) because although FLPMA §1782(c) is mandatory as to the object to be achieved, it leaves the BLM discretion to decide how to achieve that object, thereby limiting pervasive federal court oversight of agency decisionmaking. The BLM did not fail to comply with its land use plans since the plan is not a legally binding commitment enforceable under APA §706(1) but instead is a series of guidelines. Finally, the BLM did not fail to take a "hard look" at whether to supplement its EIS to take increased ORV use into account since the BLM had already approved its land use plan and thus there is no ongoing major federal action that could require supplementation. Scalia, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.