Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Farrell-Cooper Mining Co. v. DOI

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20095
Nos. 16-7061, (10th Cir., 07/25/2017)

The Tenth Circuit held that a coal mining company was entitled to judicial review of a DOI decision after a lower court dismissed the suit. In 2013, the company was cited by DOI for a violation of SMCRA. In 2015, the mining company filed a notice of appeal and a petition for stay pending appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). After the ALJ issued an amended decision clarifying his prior order, the IBLA denied a stay, concluding that the mining company had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. In 2016, the mining company submitted an appellate brief to the IBLA. The next day it filed suit in federal court seeking review of the previous ALJ decision. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement filed a motion before the IBLA, requesting that the administrative appeal be held in abeyance; this motion was granted and all further action on the administrative appeal was suspended. DOI then moved to dismiss the federal complaint. The district court granted the motion, concluding it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the ALJ’s decision did not constitute final agency action. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the ALJ’s decision became final and subject to judicial review following the IBLA’s denial of a stay. The case was remanded for further proceedings.