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Powder River Basin Resource Council v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20072
Nos. 12-cv-00996, (D.D.C., 03/28/2014) (Rothstein, J.)

A district court dismissed environmental groups' claims that BLM violated NEPA when it approved a plan for developing a coal bed natural gas lease in an area of Wyoming's Powder River Basin as well as amendments to the applicable resource management plan for the area. The groups claimed that BLM abandoned efforts to protect an elk herd and other valuable resources in the area when it issued an EA and FONSI rather than an EIS. They therefore asked the court to void already approved plans of development and to suspend and enjoin all approved and future oil and gas development permitted by BLM in the area pending full compliance with NEPA. But despite the groups' claims to the contrary, the record demonstrates that BLM took a hard look at the project's impacts on an elk herd in the area as well as impacts on water and soil resources. In addition, BLM analysis of a "no action" alternative was reasonable. The court, therefore, granted summary judgment in favor of BLM.