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Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20223
Nos. 19-cv-02898 (APM), (D.D.C., 09/24/2020) (Mehta, J.)

A district court dismissed for lack of standing a challenge to a 2018 FWS memorandum that withdrew a 2014 memorandum stating the Service's intent to phase out most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides and genetically modified crops (GMCs) within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Environmental groups argued the 2018 memorandum violated the APA, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, NEPA, and the ESA. The Service moved to dismiss for lack of standing. The court found that neither group alleged an injury to its interests that was sufficient to satisfy organizational standing requirements, and that they failed to establish any concrete interest that was affected by the memorandum to satisfy procedural standing. It further found that because the memorandum did not actually authorize the use of either neonicotinoids or GMCs, either generally or in a specific refuge, and because any such action would require further agency action, the group members' claimed injuries were not sufficiently actual or imminent to establish associational standing. The court therefore granted the Service's motion to dismiss.