Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

Sierra Club v. Clark

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
756 F.2d 686 (1985)


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed 12.1 million acres of the 25-million-acre California Desert Conservation Area (conservation area). Dove Springs Canyon (canyon), which comprised 5,000 acres of the conservation area, constituted 0.025 percent of the BLM-administered lands. Unrestricted off-road vehicle (ORV) use, which was authorized in 3,000 acres of the canyon, caused severe environmental harm. The Sierra Club (Sierra) (plaintiff) petitioned the U.S. secretary of the interior (secretary) (defendant) to close the canyon to ORV use. The secretary failed to do so. Sierra sued the secretary, claiming that the failure to prohibit ORV use in the canyon violated Executive Order No. 11644, as amended by Executive Order No. 11989 (EOs); 43 C.F.R. § 8341.2(a); and §§ 1732(b), 1781(b), and 1781(d) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq. Section 8341.2(a) required the closure of areas that suffered from the “considerable adverse effects” of ORVs. The district court granted summary judgment for the secretary, and Sierra appealed. The secretary argued that ORV impacts in the canyon were not considerable, because “considerable adverse effects” encompassed the entire conservation area, rather than individual parcels within the canyon. The secretary also argued that a broad interpretation of “considerable adverse effects” was consistent with § 1781(a)(4) of the FLPMA, which allowed ORV use “where appropriate.” Sierra argued that (1) a Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) memo finding that the EOs required the canyon’s closure was entitled to deference, and (2) the secretary’s interpretation of the closure standard was unreasonable, because the FLPMA’s multiple-use mandate and unnecessary-and-undue-degradation standard required the maintenance of the canyon’s environmental quality.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Poole, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial