Western Watersheds Project v. Salazar
United States District Court for the District of Idaho
843 F.Supp.2d 1105 (2012)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (defendant) issued the Fundamentals of Rangeland Health (FRH) regulations, establishing a framework for evaluating and improving the condition of land used for grazing. Under the FRH regulations, BLM state directors developed regional rangeland-health standards that applied to grazing permits. In the event of a violation of the regional standards, the FRH regulations required the BLM to take “appropriate action” as soon as practicable, defined as action that would result in significant progress toward meeting the standards. Idaho’s standards defined “significant progress” as measurable or observable changes in indicators of improved rangeland health. The FRH regulations also required the BLM to include terms and conditions in permits that ensured compliance with the BLM’s duty to take appropriate action resulting in significant progress. The BLM implemented an adaptive-management program under which the BLM monitored goals “over time,” defined as more than one incident of non-compliance with annual indicator criteria. The BLM did not mandate a consequence for continuing violations. The BLM’s Idaho field offices issued permit renewals for five allotments. A resource-management plan (RMP) for the Owyhee area, adopted under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701 et seq., only allowed livestock grazing that was compatible with the protection of sensitive species. Despite widespread violations of Idaho’s standards, the BLM loosened permit restrictions and maintained use levels during critical seasons for the sage grouse, a bird threatened by habitat loss caused by grazing. Although the BLM prepared environmental assessments for the permit renewals as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq., the assessments did not contain sufficient analysis of the cumulative impacts. The Western Watersheds Project (WWP) (plaintiff) filed suit against the BLM, challenging the permit renewals on the basis that the BLM had failed to protect the sage grouse. WWP moved for partial summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Winmill, C.J.)
What to do next…
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 97,000 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.
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 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 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.