WYOMING & GROUPS SEEK TO DISMISS LAND-LOCKUP LAWSUIT
February 28, 2011 - For Immediate Release
February 28, 2011 – DENVER, CO. The State of Wyoming and two Wyoming associations today sought to dismiss the Wyoming portions of a lawsuit by an environmental group to lock up more than 25 million acres of federal land in six western States. The State of Wyoming, along with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association as well as the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, filed a motion to dismiss the Wyoming portion of the case or to set it aside pending new action by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Western Watersheds Project, in a lawsuit filed in Idaho federal district court, argues that 18 Resource Management Plans (RMPs) prepared by the BLM, as they relate to the greater sage-grouse, are procedurally defective, must be redone, and may not serve as the basis for uses of the federal land involved. Four of those RMPs are in Wyoming and are being amended by the BLM. The greater sage-grouse, the largest grouse species in North America, is found in 12 States and 3 Canadian provinces; seven times since 1999, environmental groups have tried to place it on the Endangered Species Act list.
“We are pleased to be a part of this brief and believe the court must take the action we have requested,” said William Perry Pendley, Esq., of Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), which represents the associations.
Since 2006, the BLM has issued 18 RMPs, as to more than 25 million acres of purported greater sage-grouse habitat in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, which set out the permissible uses of the lands and outline the conditions under which each use will be allowed. Each RMP permits, under certain conditions and with various limitations, extractive uses such as oil and gas development and livestock grazing.
On December 17, 2008, the Western Watersheds Project challenged the 18 RMPs alleging that the BLM had failed to protect various sage-grouse populations. The group argues that, contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the BLM failed to take a “hard look” at the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of livestock grazing and energy development, as well as the impact on global warming, and failed to consider a reasonable range of alternatives, and, contrary to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), failed to prevent undue degradation of public lands and resources.
On February 20, 2009, federal lawyers filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to sever and transfer the case, arguing, in part, that the Idaho court may not consider land management actions taken in other States. That motion was denied on May 7, 2009. On May 12, 2009, the court granted the motions to intervene of the State of Wyoming and of the Wyoming Petroleum Association and Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
Mountain States Legal Foundation, founded in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.
Western Watersheds Project v. Salazar, No. 08cv516 (D.Idaho)
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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