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Center for Biological Diversity v. United States Forest Service

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20093
Nos. 17-15790, (9th Cir., 05/30/2019)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's dismissal of a challenge to the use of lead ammunition in Kaibab National Forest. Environmental groups sought to require the U.S. Forest Service to address the use of lead ammunition by hunters in the national forest, alleging the the Service's failure to to regulate ammunition was endangering wildlife that ingested ammunition left in animal carcasses and violated RCRA. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction on the basis that the groups were requesting an advisory opinion. On appeal, the court held that the district court improperly determined it lacked jurisdiction, finding that the groups satisfied the two requirements that distinguished justiciable controversies from requests for advisory opinions—the case concerned a genuine controversy between the parties, and a ruling in the groups' favor would require the Service to mitigate in some manner the harm caused by spent ammunition, thereby leading to a change in the Service's operation of the forest. It therefore reversed and remanded to the district court for further proceedings.