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WildEarth Guardians v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20180
Nos. 19-cv-001920-RBJ, (D. Colo., 11/08/2019) (Jackson, J.)

A district court enjoined the expansion of an underground coal mine into a roadless area in the Gunnison National Forest. Environmental groups argued that OSM's approval of the expansion violated NEPA by failing to consider methane flaring as an alternative. The court found that OSM was required to consider methane flaring because it was a reasonable alternative and the agency did not reasonably conclude it was infeasible, and thus that its failure to do so was arbitrary. The groups also argued that OSM failed to take a hard look at the direct impacts to water resources from the expansion. The court again found the agency violated NEPA by failing to conduct further analysis given new information regarding perennial streams that directly contradicted findings in its EIS. It therefore immediately enjoined the expansion and remanded to OSM for further consideration of the methane flaring alternative and the impacts of the expansion on water and fish resources.