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Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20047
Nos. 12cv1167-GPC, (S.D. Cal., 02/27/2013) (Curiel, J.)

A district court upheld BLM's approval of a record of decision (ROD) allowing the construction of 112 wind turbines in an area that contains cultural and biological significance to a Native American tribe. BLM's decision to approve the ROD was reasonable as it considered all relevant factors and provided an analysis that presented a rational connection between the facts found and the conclusions it made based on relevant law. Under NEPA, the BLM stopped, looked and listened when it took a "hard look" at the cumulative effects of the project with past, present and future projects; considered indirect growth-inducing effects of the project; and did not have to analyze its "priority" renewable projects in the entire California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) in a single EIS. Nor did BLM act arbitrarily, capriciously or abuse its discretion in violation of FLPMA when it determined that the project will not result in the unnecessary and undue degradation of public lands. Numerous mitigation measures are mandated in the ROD to protect different resource values in order to comply with the statute and the CDCA Plan. BLM also complied with the National Historic Preservation Act. And while BLM admits there will be unavoidable adverse impacts on different resource values, numerous mitigation efforts were implemented to limit the impact of the project and to be in compliance with federal, state and local laws. (Defense council included Nicholas C. Yost of SNR Denton in San Francisco, CA).