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Natural Resources Defense Council v. McCarthy

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20063
Nos. 20-4064, (10th Cir., 04/08/2021)

The Tenth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a challenge to BLM's decision not to conduct an environmental analysis before re-opening an area in Utah that it had temporarily closed to off-highway vehicles (OHVs). Environmental groups argued that BLM violated NEPA by failing to analyze the environmental consequences of its decision to lift the temporary closure order and open the area to cross-country OHV use. BLM moved to dismiss, arguing that the lifting of the order and re-opening of the area to OHV use was a non-discretionary act required by law and thus that NEPA did not apply. The district court agreed, and dismissed the suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The appellate court likewise concluded that the lifting of the temporary closure order was non-discretionary and that, as a result, BLM was not required under NEPA to conduct further environmental analysis before lifting the order. It therefore affirmed dismissal of the suit.