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Western Watersheds Project v. Michael

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20186
Nos. 15-CV-169-SWS, (D. Wyo., 10/29/2018) (Skavdahl, J.)

A district court ruled unconstitutional two Wyoming statutes that impose criminal and civil penalties for data collection on private land or public land accessed via private land. Environmental groups argued that the statutes violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The court found that the statutes were content-based because they attempted to penalize only the collection of data relating to land or land use, not the collection of any data, and that there was no plausible reason for the specific curtailment of speech in the statutes beyond a clear attempt to punish individuals for engaging in protected speech. Because the statutes were narrowly tailored and failed strict scrutiny, the court found them facially unconstitutional.