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Oregon-California Trails Ass'n v. Walsh

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20152
Nos. 19-cv-1945-WJM, (D. Colo., 06/17/2020) (Martinez, J.)

A district court vacated an incidental take permit issued by FWS for a transmission line project on a historic section of the Oregon and California Trail in Nebraska. Companies and conservation groups argued that FWS' decision to issue the permit, which allowed for the incidental taking of American burying beetles, violated the ESA, NEPA, and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and sought to have it set aside. The court found that FWS inadequately considered the effects of the project on a segment of the trail and unlawfully excluded potential wind turbine development in part of Nebraska from its analysis, which impacted other analyses of the project under all three statutes, and that one portion of an agreement the Service entered into to address NHPA matters was arbitrary and capricious. It therefore vacated the permit and remanded to FWS for further proceedings.