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La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee v. United States Department of Interior

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20200
Nos. 11-cv-00400, (C.D. Cal., 08/16/2013) (Gee, J.)

A district court dismissed groups' lawsuit challenging BLM's approval of a 370-megawatt utility-scale solar power plant currently under construction in the Mojave Desert. BLM's decision to consider cumulative impacts within a single EIS was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. Whether such considerations are to be addressed within a single EIS for each project or a programmatic EIS is a matter committed to the discretion of the agency. In addition, BLM satisfied NEPA by considering alternatives and mitigation procedures to reduce the impacts. While the groups may disagree with the outcome, a policy disagreement does not entitle them to block the project. And because BLM satisfied NEPA requirements and the siting of the plant conforms to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan, BLM complied with FLPMA. The court also rejected the groups' claims under the National Historic Preservation Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the APA.