Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Wildearth Guardians v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20166
Nos. 10-01174, 11-00037, (D.D.C., 07/30/2012) (Kollar-Kotelly)

A district court dismissed environmental groups' lawsuits challenging BLM's decision to authorize the leasing of certain public lands in northeastern Wyoming for coal mining operations. The groups, who claim that BLM failed to prepare an adequate EIS before authorizing the leasing of the tracts at issue, lack standing to pursue their claims concerning impacts on climate change. They failed to show that the greenhouse gas emissions that would allegedly result from coal mining operations at the tracts yield a "demonstrable increase in risk" to their recreational, aesthetic, and economic interests in the areas adjacent to the site. And while the groups have standing to pursue their claims unrelated to climate change, the court held that BLM adequately considered and disclosed the environmental impact of its actions under NEPA. BLM's final EIS considered the significant environmental impacts of leasing the tracts for coal mining operations, thereby enabling the ultimate decisionmaker to make a "fully informed" decision. The court also dismissed the groups' ESA claims. Because FWS concurred in writing with BLM's determination that proposed leasing is not likely to adversely affect the Ute ladies’-tresses orchid, informal consultation was sufficient. And because BLM determined that the proposed leasing would have no effect on the black-footed ferret, no further consultation was required.