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Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. BLM

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20162
Nos. No. 05-35931, (9th Cir., 07/14/2008)

The Ninth Circuit held that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it developed a land use plan covering a large portion of Oregon. The environmental group challenging the plan argued that BLM failed to properly analyze the plan's effects on lands under its control possessing "wilderness characteristics." BLM countered that wilderness characteristics were "outside the scope" of the environmental impact statement for the land use plan because it had already completed a survey of wilderness lands under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act §603. Wilderness characteristics, however, are not simply a checklist to be used in completing a §603 survey, and they are certainly not just one of the group's "notions," as BLM would have it. BLM, therefore, failed to satisfy NEPA's requirements.