Bush BLM's environmental legacy on trial; Will Salazar listen ?

Scope of litigation - map © Advocates for the West & Conservation Geography
Scope of litigation – map © Advocates for the West & Conservation Geography – click to view enlarged map

Judge B Lynne Winmill ruled in favor of Western Watersheds Project ordering that the group’s comprehensive challenge of over 16 Resource Management Plans, directing management of over 30 million acres, can be litigated in his single court.

Resource Management Plans (RMPs) guide management of livestock grazing, off road vehicles, energy development, and other potentially environmentally harmful administered uses of public land.

WWP argues that Bush BLM’s collective Resource Management Plans constitute a systemic effort to undermine fundamental environmental laws of the United States thereby threatening many imperiled species using the example of mismanagement and failure to consider impact to sage grouse – an imperiled landscape indicator species (‘canary in the coal-mine’ of sage-steppe habitat) across millions of acres.

In his order, Judge Winmill rebuffs the government’s attempt to split the case using the recent Northern Rockies Mountain Wolf delisting case as an example:

Resolution of environmental actions often affects areas far outside the judicial district of the resolving court. For example, Montana District Judge Donald W. Molloy resolved a dispute over the de-listing of a distinct population segment of the Rocky Mountain gray wolf that was found in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. See Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall, 565 F.Supp. 1160 (D.Mont. 2008). A population segment may span several judicial districts requiring a court to look outside its own boundaries.

Read the order

This order similarly paves an opportunity for the new Obama Administration to make good on its campaign promise to reform the Department of Interior’s corrupt disregard for science, law and the public interest.

*A tip of the hat to Laird Lucas, environmental lawyer, friend of the sage grouse, and court-room rock star !  Good luck with the rest of the case Laird !

Laird Lucas, environmental lawyer Rock Star
Laird Lucas

Previously on this blog :

Lawyers ask judge to split sweeping grazing suit

Major lawsuit by Western Watersheds Project over sage grouse

Thanks to Advocates for the West for permission to use the map.


  1. Ken Cole Avatar

    This is very good news. These RMP’s, which are an order of magnitude worse than the very awful old ones, need to be entirely redone. They are entirely political documents and no real science went into producing them.

    Good work Laird, Todd, Laurie, Kristen, Natalie, Laura, Tina and Gene. Our lawyers and their staff kick ass!

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Brian Ertz