Description: Challenge to oil and gas lease sales covering more than 54,000 acres in southeastern Utah.
Friends of Cedar Mesa v. U.S. Department of the Interior
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/02/2020 Memorandum Decision Download Motion to dismiss granted. Utah Federal Court Dismissed Challenges to Oil and Gas Leases for Which BLM Was Conducting Additional Environmental Analyses. After the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) suspended oil and gas leases in southeastern Utah that were sold in March and December 2018 so that it could conduct additional environmental analysis, the federal district court for the District of Utah dismissed two consolidated lawsuits challenging the leases. The court found that the plaintiffs’ claims were moot because no leasing operations or ground-disturbing activity would occur during the suspensions and BLM would issue new leasing decisions arising from a different regulatory context. The court further found that the mootness exception for voluntary cessation of activity did not apply because the alleged violations could not reasonably be expected to start up again and events had “completely and irrevocably eradicated the effects of the alleged violations.” 09/19/2019 Response Download Joint response filed by plaintiffs to defendants' motion to dismiss. 08/08/2019 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by federal defendants. 05/17/2019 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/19/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Filed Challenging Environmental Reviews for Oil and Gas Leases in Southeastern Utah. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Utah claiming that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it decided in March and December 2018 to offer 35 oil and gas leases covering 54,508 acres of public lands in southeastern Utah. SUWA alleged that over the past year and a half BLM had “offered, sold and issued a mosaic of oil and gas leases on the doorstep of Bears Ears, Canyons of the Ancients, and Hovenweep National Monuments” without fully analyzing the impacts of the leasing decisions, including impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. In particular, the complaint alleged that BLM had not considered emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, such as methane and nitrous oxide. SUWA also said BLM’s environmental review failed to consider greenhouse gas emissions from activities that occur after production but prior to combustion such as fugitive emissions from pipeline leaks. In addition, SUWA alleged that BLM had not considered reasonably foreseeable cumulative impacts. The complaint asserted claims under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.