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350 Montana v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20055
Nos. CV 19-12-M-DWM, (D. Mont., 03/09/2020) (Molloy, J.)

A district court vacated an EA prepared by OSM for a coal mine expansion in south-central Montana. Environmental groups argued that OSM violated NEPA by failing to adequately consider the risk of train derailments from the increased rail traffic that would result. The court found that OSM should have addressed the risk given the severity of train derailments and the certainty with which they could be predicted, and that its failure to do so violated NEPA. The groups also argued that OSM violated NEPA by failing to adequately consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the expansion, and violated the ESA by concluding the expansion would not affect grizzly bears or northern long-eared bats, but the court found OSM's analyses of these risks were sufficient under both statutes. It therefore granted the groups' motion for summary judgment only as to their train derailments claim, vacated the EA, and remanded to OSM for further action.