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Wyoming v. United States Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20091
Nos. 18-8027, -8029, (10th Cir., 06/04/2018)

The Tenth Circuit refused to stay pending interlocutory appeal a lower court order staying BLM's waste prevention rule, which was issued to reduce the venting, flaring, and leaking of natural gas emissions during oil and gas production activities on onshore federal land. California, New Mexico, and environmental groups appealed, requesting that the order be stayed pending appeal. Montana, Wyoming, and industry groups then sought to dismiss their appeal, arguing that the order does not qualify for review. The appellate court disagreed: the lower court's stay effectively enjoins enforcement of the rule, has the practical effect of granting an injunction, and results in a serious, perhaps irreparable, consequence in that the environmental benefits of the rule will not be realized. As such, it can be challenged only by immediate appeal. Nevertheless, the court refused to stay the order pending appeal. California, New Mexico, and the environmental groups failed to demonstrate that the stay factors weigh in their favor, and the circumstances do not justify an exercise of judicial discretion.