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Western Watersheds Project v. Kraayenbrink

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20147
Nos. Nos. 05-297, 06-275, (D. Idaho, 06/08/2007)

A district court held that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it revised its nationwide grazing regulations. In issuing the regulations, which generally loosen restrictions on grazing, BLM violated NEPA by failing to take the requisite "hard look" at the environmental effects of the regulations. BLM failed to take a hard look as to why its public participation and "consult, cooperate, and coordinate" duties should be more limited than those in the previous regulations. The revisions also changed the "Fundamentals of Rangeland Health" and the criteria for ownership of range improvements and water rights. Again, BLM should explain itself so decisionmakers and the public can determine whether these changes are acceptable. For many of these same reasons, the regulations also violate FLPMA. Last, BLM should have consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—as required by the ESA—before issuing the new regulations. The court, therefore, enjoined the revised regulations from taking effect until BLM proceeds with consultation under the ESA and takes the requisite hard look at the environmental impacts under NEPA.