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Ouachita Watch League v. Jacobs

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20187
Nos. Nos. 05-14461, -14462, (11th Cir., 09/05/2006)

The court holds that a lower court improperly dismissed as unripe environmental groups’ claims that the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it amended certain forest plans in the southern United States. The lower court erred in dismissing the case because its reasoning was based on a construction of the ripeness doctrine that does not apply to NEPA cases. NEPA imposes a procedural duty on federal agencies. Where, as here, a plaintiff alleges that it was injured based on an agency's failure to satisfy that duty, the plaintiff's claim is ripe for review. In addition, the court rejects the Forest Service's arguments that the group lacks standing and that their claims are moot.