Description: Challenge to surface mining permit on grounds that approval violated NEPA.
Black Mesa Water Coalition v. Salazar
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/11/2012 Order Download Order issued. A coalition of Navajo and non-Native American community and conservation organizations challenged the approval of a mining permit by the Federal Office of Surface Mining Control and Enforcement. The matter was assigned to an administrative law judge. The coalition moved for a summary decision, alleging that the permit violated the National Environmental Policy Act because, among other things, it failed to adequately analyze impacts related to climate change. The judge granted another party’s motion for summary decision and held that he need not address the merits of the coalition’s motion because the relief it sought had already been granted. The coalition subsequently moved for an award of attorneys’ fees, which was denied. The coalition appealed the decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which upheld it. The coalition then filed an action in federal court challenging the Board’s decision. The district court upheld the Board’s decision, holding that its conclusion that the coalition had not made a substantial contribution to the determination of the issues was not arbitrary and capricious.