Description: Challenge to wind power project.
Backcountry Against Dumps v. Jewell
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/07/2016 Opinion Download Opinion issued. Ninth Circuit Upheld NEPA Review for California Wind Farm, Including Greenhouse Gas Analysis. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that upheld the United States Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) granting of a right-of-way on federal lands for a wind energy project in San Diego County. The court upheld BLM’s actions under NEPA, as well as under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The Ninth Circuit concluded, among other things, that BLM’s environmental impact statement (EIS) took a hard look at greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. The court found that the EIS’s “passing projection of potential emissions reductions, simply by virtue of the Project’s creation of a new source of renewable energy, is reasonable enough and does not mandate the provision of conclusive proof through additional evidence and analysis beyond that already provided in the EIS.” The court also deferred to BLM’s determination that estimation of greenhouse gas emissions from manufacture and transportation of equipment to the project area would be too speculative.
Protect Our Communities Foundation v. Jewell
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/25/2014 Order Download Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment denied; defendants' cross motions for summary judgment granted. The federal district court for the Southern District of California rejected a challenge to BLM actions authorizing the Tule Wind Project, a utility-scale wind energy facility on public lands in San Diego County. The court was not persuaded that BLM violated NEPA, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, or the Bald and Golden Eagles Protection Act. Among other things, the court rejected plaintiffs’ claims that BLM had failed to take a hard look at climate change impacts, finding that BLM did not have to indicate the number of megawatt-hours of energy the project would generate each year to support its conclusion that the project would “potentially” decrease overall emissions associated with electrical generation in California. Nor did BLM have to assess the project’s “life-cycle” emissions impacts by taking into account emissions from off-site equipment manufacture and transportation—the court deemed such an assessment “largely speculative.” The court also agreed with the defendants that BLM had sufficiently addressed a distributed generation alternative favored by plaintiffs that would have relied on widespread development of “rooftop solar” systems on residential and commercial structures in San Diego County, as well as development of other small-scale renewable energy sources.