Description: Challenge to Department of Interior rule that allegedly would expand sand mining projects in coastal barriers.
National Audubon Society v. de la Vega
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/23/2021 Stipulation Download Stipulation of dismissal filed. Parties Agreed to Dismissal of Lawsuit After Interior Department Withdrew 2019 Interpretation that Allegedly Expanded Potential Sand Mining of Coastal Barriers. National Audubon Society, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, other federal defendants, and New Jersey localities who intervened as defendants agreed to the dismissal of National Audubon Society’s lawsuit challenging a 2019 Interior Department memorandum that interpreted the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to allow use of sand removed from within the Coastal Barrier Resources System for shoreline stabilization projects outside the System. National Audubon Society alleged that the rule “vastly expands potential sand mining projects in delicate coastal barriers” and further alleged that coastal barriers would become even more important due to climate change and were expected to mitigate $108 billion of sea level rise and flooding damages over the next 50 years. On June 22, 2021, the federal defendants informed the court that they anticipated that they would revise the 2019 interpretation and issue a new interpretation. In July, the Interior Department rescinded the 2019 memorandum, reinstating the interpretation that had been in place from 1994 to 2019, which required that sand from the System be used only in shoreline stabilization projects within the System. The Biden-Harris administration had identified the 2019 interpretation as an action to be reviewed under President Biden’s Executive Order 13990 on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” 06/22/2021 Letter Download Letter submitted by the defendants to inform court of intention to revise 2019 interpretation. 04/23/2021 Consent Order Download Second stipulation and consent order staying the case so-ordered. 02/23/2021 Stipulation Download Stipulation and consent order staying the case so-ordered. The federal district court for the Southern District of New York stayed a case challenging a 2019 rule interpreting the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) that the National Audubon Society alleged “vastly expands potential sand mining projects in delicate coastal barriers” protected by CBRA. The case was stayed for an initial 60 days pursuant to a stipulation and consent order. 07/02/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Lawsuit Charged that Interior Department Rule Would Imperil Protective Coastal Barriers. National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York challenging a U.S. Department of the Interior final rule that allegedly “vastly expands potential sand mining projects in delicate coastal barriers protected by the 1982 Coastal Barrier Resources Act.” The complaint alleged that coastal barriers, “when intact, safeguard the nation’s geology, ecology, and economy,” protecting communities from the impacts of coastal storms. The complaint further alleged that “[c]limate change will make coastal barriers even more important,” with coastal barriers expected to mitigate $108 billion of sea level rise and flooding damages over the next 50 years. The plaintiffs asserted claims under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.