Litigation news from November

The Forest Service report hasn’t shown up for awhile, so here’s a few court stories you may have missed.

New case:  The Western Shoshone Defense Project sued the BLM over its decision to permit the Mt. Hope molybdenum mine.  (They are following the model used against the Forest Service to enjoin the Rosemont mine in Arizona; that district court decision is described here.)

Court decision:  A federal judge blocked the West Elk Coal Mine’s plans to expand by 2,000 acres into the Gunnison National Forest’s Sunset Roadless Area because of NEPA violations involving methane capture and effects on streams.

New case:  The Stop B2H Coalition and Greater Hells Canyon Council have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the proposed Boardman-to-Hemingway power transmission line, which would cross the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

TRO granted:  A judge has granted a temporary restraining order to prevent salvage logging operations on four of the six projects at issue in this case involving the road maintenance categorical exclusion (introduced here).

TRO denied:  A plea to halt Montana’s winter bison hunt on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest has been denied by a D.C. District Court judge, who also moved the case to Montana.

Court decision:  A D. C. District Court judge found the presidential proclamation expanding Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is “invalid and unenforceable” for the O&C Lands, as is the BLM forest management plan that placed about three-fourths of the O&C Land base into old growth and riparian reserves.  (The latter decision conflicts with an earlier decision in Oregon federal court.)

Court decision:  Jurors in Oregon found in favor of 14 counties and their $1 billion lawsuit claiming the state deprived them of revenue for decades by limiting logging in state forests.

Court decision:  We’ve had some discussion of whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act has any teeth, including requirements for the make-up of the committee. This decision from September involves the Department of the Interior’s International Wildlife Conservation Council, “an advisory body composed primarily of trophy-hunting profiteers and firearm manufacturers.”  Plaintiffs:  “The court’s ruling allows us to continue challenging the illegal creation and operation of the IWCC …”

2 thoughts on “Litigation news from November”

  1. The FACA one is really interesting. I’ve tried to get folks appointed to FACA committees with varying levels of success (e.g. I tried to get an evolutionary biologist appointed to the Committee of Scientists for NFMA). I was also the Designated Federal Official for one, which required infinite laborious paperwork exercises. I had to run the names by the Office of White House Liaison at USDA, who checked them out in some also lengthy process.

    I think how this will resolve is that the picking of committee members that most disturbs folks with deep legal pockets will be challenged, and others will not. Or folks may have their FACA committee targeted for court for political reasons.

    I would say after experiences with a variety of these that they have varying utility, and reasonable people would differ on whether some of them are worth the expense.

    • FACA makes a guest appearance in the National Park Service e-bike lawsuit: “The National Park Service, facing a lawsuit from conservation groups for allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails, disbanded a bike-industry group that has been accused of secret lobbying for that access.


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