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Oregon Natural Desert Ass'n v. Rose

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20076
Nos. 18-35258 and 18-35282, (9th Cir., 04/25/2019)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a district court's judgment upholding BLM's and the Interior Board of Land Appeals' decisions concerning recreation and travel management plans for motorized vehicle use in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area in southeast Oregon. A conservation group argued that the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the recreation plan because it failed to establish the baseline conditions necessary to adequately consider the plan's environmental impacts to the Steens Mountain Area. The court agreed, finding the agency's decision to issue the recreation plan violated NEPA. The group also argued that the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously by (1) changing its definition of "roads and trails" in the travel plan without providing a reasoned explanation and (2) affirming BLM's issuance of the travel plan because BLM failed to establish the baseline environmental conditions necessary for a procedurally adequate assessment of the plan's environmental impacts. The court again agreed, finding the board's decisions violated NEPA. It therefore vacated the recreation plan, vacated the board's approval of the travel plan, and remanded to BLM for reconsideration.