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Wyoming v. United States Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20059
Nos. 18-8027 and 18-8029, (10th Cir., 04/09/2019)

In an unpublished opinion, the Tenth Circuit vacated a district court's order enjoining BLM's Waste Prevention Rule, which restricted the venting and flaring of natural gas wells, pending finalization of a replacement rule that was undergoing public notice and comment. California, New Mexico, and environmental groups appealed the district court's order, but acknowledged the appeal was moot because BLM has since published the replacement rule and moved to dismiss. DOI argued that the appellate court should vacate the Waste Prevention Rule itself and remand with instructions that the district court dismiss the entire case as moot. But the appellate court found vacatur of the entire rule inappropriate because the replacement rule did not eliminate all requirements of the original rule, nor did it see any harm in allowing the district court to decide in the first instance whether the entire case was moot, given that it was more acquainted with the overall claims and issues. It therefore granted the states' and groups' motion to dismiss, vacated the district court's order, and dismissed the appeal as moot.