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San Diego Cattlemen's Cooperative Ass'n v. Vilsack

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20217
Nos. 14-00818, -00887, (D.N.M., 11/03/2015) (Brack, J.)

A district court dismissed several claims a group of cattle ranchers filed against USDA and DOI concerning actions taken to protect the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, an endangered species. Following the listing of the species in 2014, the U.S. Forest Service proposed to erect a five-foot pipe fence around certain riparian land within the Santa Fe National Forest to improve the mouse's habitat. The Forest Service also built new fences in portions of the Lincoln National Forest. A group of cattle ranchers that hold grazing permits in the Santa Fe and Lincoln National Forests filed suit against USDA and DOI under NEPA and the APA. The ranchers, however, have not challenged any final agency action taken by DOI. Accordingly, the court lacks jurisdiction to review any claims against the DOI defendants. Likewise, challenges over the proposed fence must be dismissed because there is no final agency action. And to the extent the ranchers' APA claims are based on substantive violations of NEPA, they failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The court, therefore, granted the government's partial motion to dismiss.