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Public Lands Council v. Babbitt

167 F.3d 1287 (1999)

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Public Lands Council v. Babbitt

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

167 F.3d 1287 (1999)

Facts

The Secretary of the Interior (the secretary) (defendant) issued new regulations governing the administration of livestock grazing on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. One of these regulations (the conservation-use rule) permitted the secretary to issue Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) permits for conservation use. The regulation defined conservation use as an activity other than livestock grazing conducted on an allotment for conservation purposes. Thus, the regulation authorized the secretary to issue conservation permits that prohibited grazing for the duration of the permit. Prior to the regulation, the secretary had been permitted to temporarily limit grazing to preserve and protect the land. The Public Lands Council (the council) (plaintiff) challenged the conservation-use rule, arguing that it was facially invalid because, in issuing the rule, the secretary had exceeded his authority under the TGA, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), and the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 (PRIA). The district court held that the conservation-use rule was invalid and enjoined its enforcement. The secretary appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Seymour, C.J.)

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