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Scarborough Citizens Protecting Resources v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20074
Nos. 11-1597, (1st Cir., 03/22/2012)

The First Circuit upheld the dismissal of a citizen group's lawsuit against the FWS in a suit concerning Maine's conveyance of easements on a recreational trail purchased with federal funds. The Wildlife Restoration Act, enacted in 1937, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to disburse money derived from excise taxes on hunting equipment to states for wildlife-restoration projects. The group argued that the state repeatedly violated the Wildlife Restoration Act by conveying nearly 10 easements on various portions of the trail between 1968 and 2005 contrary to the purposes for which the trail was initially acquired. But the FWS' failure to remedy the state's alleged violations was not subject to judicial review under the APA as it was a discretionary enforcement decision. And there was no major federal action that could lead to the FWS or state officials being held liable for violating NEPA, as the state officials did not seek approval of the easements and the FWS did not grant it. The federal government funded the state's purchase of the property, but it neither funded nor approved the later grant of any of the easements.