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Utah v. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20199
Nos. No. 06-4240, (10th Cir., 08/04/2008)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision dismissing environmental groups' claims challenging a proposed settlement agreement between Utah and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) concerning the agency's inventory, classification, and management of certain types of BLM and state trust lands. The groups argued, among other things, that the settlement binds BLM to an illegal interpretation of its organic act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The question of whether the settlement violates FLPMA and other statutes, however, turns primarily on the settlement's meaning. Resolution of the issues would therefore be greatly aided by a record illustrating how BLM applies the settlement in the context of specific land management decisions. Because no such record exists at this stage of the litigation, the claims are not ripe for judicial resolution.