Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Neighbors for Rational Dev. v. Norton

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20063
Nos. No. 02-2085, (10th Cir., 08/05/2004)

The Tenth Circuit dismissed a landowner organization's appeal of a district court order upholding the DOI's decision to acquire certain property in trust for the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico. To the extent the organization's requested relief would divest the United States of title to the property, the Quiet Title Act precludes their suit. The organization asked the court to enter declaratory judgment that the trust acquisition is null and void and sought to permanently enjoin the DOI from converting the property to trust status without fully complying will all federal laws, regulations, and guidelines, including NEPA. These requests fall within the scope of suits the Indian trust land exemption in the Quiet Title Act sought to prevent. In addition, the organization's request for an injunction halting development on the property until the DOI has complied with NEPA is moot. Requiring the DOI to reexamine its trust acquisition decision would not provide the organization with any meaningful relief and would be a waste of agency resources. The court therefore dismissed the appeal and remanded the case to district court with instructions to vacate its decision and dismiss this action.