Friday, July 11, 2008

Wilderness Workshop v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Jul 8: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 08-1165. Plaintiffs Wilderness Workshop, High Country Citizens’ Alliance, Western Colorado Congress, Western Slope Environmental Resource Council, Center for Biological Diversity, and Board of County Commissioners for Pitkin County (Colorado) filed suit challenging a decision by defendants, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (Forest Service), authorizing defendant/intervenor SG Interests I, Ltd. (SG) to construct, operate, and maintain a natural gas pipeline through roadless national forest land. In connection with their suit, plaintiffs sought and were denied a preliminary injunction by the district court. Plaintiffs then filed an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s order denying their motion for preliminary injunction. The Appeals Court affirmed the decision of the district court in denying the preliminary injunction and granted the motions of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Congress of Racial Equality, and Harold Shepherd to file amicus curiae briefs in the case.

In denying the preliminary injunction the Appeals Court said the plaintiffs only met one prong of a three prong test -- they "produced evidence that they will suffer some imminent and irreparable injuries if the pipeline construction begins;” however, the threatened injury to plaintiffs was equally balanced “against the weight of the public interest in gas production, and [SG’s] demonstrated economic interests;" and as the district court concluded the public interest factor did not weigh heavily in favor of either the plaintiffs or the defendants and [SG].

Access the complete opinion (
click here). [*Land, *Energy]