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Gardner v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20139
Nos. No. 09-35647, (9th Cir., 04/07/2011)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a citizen group's lawsuit seeking to compel BLM to prohibit off-road vehicle use in Oregon's Little Canyon Mountain area. BLM did not make a finding that the off-road vehicle use complained of by the group had caused "considerable adverse effects" that would trigger a mandatory closure. Nor was BLM required to make such a finding, as the regulations give the agency the discretion to decide how and when a determination of considerable adverse effects will be made. Accordingly, the court refused to compel BLM to close Little Canyon Mountain to off-road vehicle use. In addition, BLM's denial of the petition to close Little Canyon Mountain to off-road vehicle use was not arbitrary and capricious. The petition complained about a number of things, ranging from noise to environmental degradation. But there is no evidence that the group provided BLM with specific information or scientific studies supporting allegations of environmental damage that would qualify as considerable adverse effects. The lower court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the government was therefore affirmed.