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Yount v. Salazar

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20219
Nos. 11-8171 et al., (D. Ariz., 09/30/2014) (Campbell, J.,)

A district court upheld DOI's decision to withdraw more than one million acres of federal land adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining. The withdrawal will close these lands to the exploration and development of uranium mining claims for 20 years, although mining of a few existing claims will be permitted. Various counties, associations, and companies having an interest in uranium mining filed suit, claiming that DOI violated NEPA and FLPMA because the data it relied on was sparse and uncertain. But there is no legal principle that prevents DOI from acting in the face of uncertainty. Rather, when faced with uncertainty due to a lack of definitive information, DOI may proceed cautiously by withdrawing land for a period of time under FLPMA. The Secretary of DOI, therefore, did not abuse his discretion or act arbitrarily, capriciously, or in violation of law when he chose to err on the side of caution in protecting a national treasure—Grand Canyon National Park.