Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. United States Forest Service

on . Posted in Litigation

Flagstaff, AZ — Senior United States District Judge Stephen McNamee dismissed yet another lawsuit (Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. United States Forest Service) filed by the activist group, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).

This lawsuit was filed on September 5, 2012, by the CBD, the Sierra Club, and the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council (GCWC).  It alleged that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was legally obligated to regulate the use of lead ammunition under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a federal law governing the disposal of hazardous waste.

CBD’s complaint claimed that spent ammunition in the Kaibab National Forest presents an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment.” Specifically, plaintiffs asserted that wildlife in the Kaibab National Forest, especially scavenging avian such as California condors, bald and golden eagles, are getting lead poisoning from eating lead bullets in carrion left in the field by hunters. CBD claimed that a prohibition of the use of lead ammunition was needed to protect wildlife.

The federal court, however, dismissed CBD’s case for failing to establish that the court could grant relief based on plaintiffs’ claims.

Dismissal of CBD’s Case

The court dismissed CBD’s case, finding that the plaintiffs did not meet the procedural “standing” requirements necessary to have their case heard by a federal court.  The court ruled this way because plaintiffs in federal court must be able to show that the court can grant the relief the plaintiff seeks.  The court found, however, that it was not empowered to order the U.S. Forest Service to perform discretionary acts such as rule making pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, and even if it could compel the USFS to initiate the rule making process necessary to prevent the disposal of lead within Kaibab National Forest the outcome of such an order “would be uncertain because [the USFS] would be required to consult with Arizona, accept public comments, balance competing interests, and consider a no action alternative.”  The court further noted that because condors are known for long distance travel and could easily fly and feed outside the boarder of Kaibab National Forest, banning lead ammunition in the Kaibab National Forest was unlikely to remedy plaintiffs’ alleged injury.  As such, the court found that it was speculative whether a favorable ruling would be likely to redress Plaintiff’s injury and the court dismissed the case on grounds that the court lacked Article III jurisdiction.

[Editor's note:  On August 21, 2013, CBD, the Sierra Club, and GCWC filed a notice of appeal.  Stay tuned…]

 

Filing Date Filing Party Document Description
8.29.13 Plaintiffs Mediation Questionnaire
7.2.13 Court Judgment in a Civil Case
7.2.13 Court Memorandum of Decision and Order
3.26.13 Defendant USFS Defendant’s Reply Brief In Support of Motion to Dismiss
3.26.13 Court Order Granting Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Reply Brief in Support of its Motion to Dismiss
3.25.13 Defendant USFS Lodged Proposed Defendant’s Reply Brief in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss
3.25.13 Defendant USFS Proposed Order Re USFS’ Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Defendanrt’s Reply Brief in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss in Excess of the Page Limit
3.25.13 Defendant USFS USFS’ Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Defendant’s Reply Brief in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss in Excess of the Page Limit
2.25.13 Court Order Granting Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply Brief
2.22.13 Defendant USFS Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply Brief
2.19.13 Intervenor-NSSF NSSF’s Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Intervene
2.8.13 Plaintiffs Plaintiffs’ Response in Opposition to NSSF’s Motion to Intervene
2.6.13 Court Order Granting Motion for Leave to file Excess pages
2.6.13 Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Leave to file Plaintiffs’ Resp to US Forest Service’s Motion to Dismiss
2.6.13 Plaintiffs Plaintiffs’ Response in Opp to USFS’s Motion to Dismiss
1.22.13 Intervenor-NSSF NSSF’s Proposed Answer
1.22.13 Intervenor-NSSF NSSF’s Corporate Disclosure Statement
1.22.13 Intervenor-NSSF Declaration of Lawrence Keane in Support of NSSF’s Motion to Intervene
1.22.13 Intervenor-NSSF NSSF’s Motion for Leave to Intervene
1.16.13 Court Order Granting Plaintiff extension of time to respond to Motion to Dismiss
1.14.13 Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time for Plaintiffs’ to Respond to Forest Service’s Motion to Dismiss
1.14.13 Plaintiffs Dec of Kevin Cassidy in Support of Plaintiffs’ Response in Opp to NRA’s Motion to Intervene
1.11.13 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Reply to Opposition to Motion to Intervene
1.4.13 Plaintiffs Response in Opposition to Motion to Intervene
12.14.12  USFS Motion to Dismiss
12.4.12  Intervenor-State of AZ Reply to Plaintiffs’ Response to the State of AZ’s Motion to Intervene
12.4.12 Court Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Extension of Time to file Response to NRA_SCI Motion to Intervene
12.3.12 Plaintiff Proposed Order Re Plaintiffs’ First Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply to Motion to Intervene
12.3.12 Plaintiff Plaintiffs First Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply to Motion to Intervene
11.30.12 Court Order Granting Motion for Ext. of Time to Respond to Complaint
11.30.12 USFS Proposed Order Re Motion for Extension of Time for Defendant USFS to Respond to Complaint
11.30.12 USFS Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time for USFS to Respond to Complaint
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Lodged Proposed Answer to Complaint
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Motion to Intervene
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Proposed Order Granting Motion to Intervene
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI NRA’s Corporate Disclosure Statement
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Don Martin
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of George Taylor
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Jack Rainey
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of John Rusing
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Susan Recce
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Thomas Britt
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Todd Geiler
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Rew Goodenow
11.21.12 Intervenor- NRA/SCI Declaration of Chris Cox
11.20.12 Plaintiff Memorandum in Response to State of Arizona’s Motion to Intervene
11.6.12 Intervenor-State of AZ Memorandum in Support of State of Arizona’s Motion to Intervene
11.6.12 Intervenor-State of AZ State of Arizona’s Motion to Intervene
9.5.12 Plaintiff Complaint

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