Description: Challenge to Forest Service and BLM approvals of revised land use plans for lands located in range of greater sage-grouse.
Western Watersheds Project v. Bernhardt
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/24/2019 Memorandum Download Memorandum filed by Utah in support of motion to intervene. 03/27/2019 Brief Download Opening brief filed by plaintiffs in support of motion for leave to file first supplemental complaint. Environmental Groups Sought to Challenge Rollbacks of Sage-Grouse Protections, Asserted Continuing Failure to Consider Climate Change Impacts on Habitat. Environmental groups sought to file a supplemental complaint in their lawsuit challenging federal land use plan amendments adopted in 2015 as part of the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. In the original complaint, the groups contended that the 2015 plans did not go far enough to ensure sage-grouse conservation, including because federal defendants had failed to consider climate change impacts on sage-grouse habitats and populations. In their proposed supplemental complaint and the brief supporting their motion for leave to file it, the groups asserted that the Trump administration had recently taken final actions to roll back protections included in the 2015 plans and that the administration’s actions would “hasten the sage-grouse’s decline toward extinction.” The supplemental complaint alleged that in rolling back the 2015 plans, the defendants had against failed “to analyze the cumulative and synergistic impacts of climate change on sage-grouse habitats and populations,” which would include “larger and more frequent wildfires and droughts, and invasions of cheatgrass and other non-native vegetation” that “will further reduce and fragment sage-grouse habitats.” 03/27/2019 Complaint Download Proposed first supplemental complaint filed. 02/25/2016 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Environmental Groups Charged That Forest Service and BLM Failed to Protect Greater Sage-Grouse, Cited Climate Impacts on Habitat. Four environmental organizations filed a complaint in the federal district court for the District of Idaho to challenge approvals by the United States Forest Service and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of revised land use plans for lands located in the range of the greater sage-grouse in Idaho and other states. The plaintiffs alleged that the plans did not implement best available science and government experts’ recommendations and would not ensure the greater sage-grouse’s survival, which was threatened by the “synergistic impacts of climate change and human activities” on their habitat. The plaintiffs alleged claims under NEPA, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National Forest Management Act.