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Western Watersheds Project v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20099
Nos. 2:19-cv-0750-SI, (D. Or., 06/05/2019) (Simon, J.)

A district court issued a temporary restraining order forbidding BLM from permitting a ranching company to use two grazing allotments that had been authorized by the Secretary of the Interior in response to a presidential pardon of the company's prior criminal convictions. Environmental groups argued that the Secretary violated NEPA and FLPMA when he ordered BLM to renew the company's grazing permit without first requiring an EA or EIS to be prepared, and they sought to temporarily restrain the use of the allotments. BLM asserted that the groups had not demonstrated they would suffer irreparable harm in the absence of immediate temporary relief. But the court found that the groups showed a likelihood of harm to sage-grouse habitat and status on the allotments, especially if grazing were allowed in June, and thus met their burden of demonstrating a need for temporary injunctive relief. It therefore granted the groups' motion for a temporary restraining order.