05-19-2014 PLF and Ca Cattlemen’s Association AMICUS CURIAE Brief

  (Unfortunately, Adobe PDF file converter has a tendency to run words together

so I am providing access both through the link below as well as by scrolling down to read the ‘converted file.)

 

05-19-2014 PLF and Ca Cattlemen Assn Brief

 

  1. 13-1244

Inthe

SupremeCourtoftheUnitedStates

                        Ë                         

DRAKESBAYOYSTERCOMPANYandKEVINLUNNY,

Petitioners,

SALLYJEWELL,SecretaryoftheUnitedStatesDepartmentoftheInterior,etal.,

                        Ë                         

OnPetitionforWritofCertioraritotheUnitedStatesCourtofAppeals

fortheNinthCircuit

                        Ë                         

BRIEFAMICUSCURIAEOFPACIFICLEGALFOUNDATIONAND

CALIFORNIACATTLEMEN’SASSOCIATIONINSUPPORTOFPETITIONERS

                        Ë                         

DAMIENM.SCHIFF

*ANTHONYL.FRANÇOIS

*CounselofRecordPacificLegalFoundation930GStreet

Sacramento,California95814

Telephone:(916)419-7111

Facsimile:(916)419-7747

E-mail:dms@pacificlegal.orgE-mail:alf@pacificlegal.org

CounselforAmiciCuriaePacificLegalFoundationand

CaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation

 

 

 

 

 

 

i

 

QUESTIONSPRESENTED

  1. WhetherthefederalcourtslackjurisdictionundertheAdministrativeProcedure Acttoreviewanagencyactionthatisarbitraryandcapriciousoranabuseofdiscretionwhenthestatuteauthorizingtheactiondoesnotimposespecificrequirementsgoverningtheexerciseofdiscretion.
  2. WhetherfederalagenciescanevadereviewoftheiractionsundertheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyActbydesignatingtheiractionsas“conservationefforts,”whentherecordshowsthattheactionwillcausesignificantadverseenvironmentaleffects.
  3. Whetheranagencycommitsprejudicialerrorwhenitmakesmateriallyfalsestatementsinanenvironmentalimpactstatement,andthenassertsthatitwouldhavemadethesamedecisionevenifthefalsestatementshadbeencorrected.

 

 

 

 

 

ii

 

 

TABLEOFCONTENTS

 

Page

 

QUESTIONS PRESENTED……………………………….. i

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES……………………………… iv

INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE…………………………. 1

INTRODUCTIONANDSUMMARYOFREASONSFOR

GRANTINGTHEPETITION……………………… 3

REASONSFORGRANTINGTHEPETITION……… 6

  1. Bureaugrazingpermitdecisionsregulateapredominantuseofover150millionacresofthenation’sfederallands,almostallofwhichfall

withintheNinthorTenth Circuits……………… 6

  1. TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitionbecausetheNinthandTenthCircuitsaresplitontwolegalstandardsfor

grazing permit renewals……………………………. 9

  1. TheNinthCircuitholdsthatadecisionnottorenewanaturalresourcepermitisexemptfromNEPAiftheagencycharacterizesthedecisionasaconservationeffort,whiletheTenthCircuit

rejectsprecisely suchanexemption……….. 9

 

TABLEOFCONTENTS—Continued

  1. TheBureaucannotarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenewagrazingpermitwithoutansweringtothefederalcourtsundertheAdministrativeProcedureActintheTenthCircuit,butitcanrefuse

 

Page

 

renewalswithimpunityintheNinth. ..14CONCLUSION……………………………………… 17

 

TABLEOFAUTHORITIES

Cases

 

Page

 

Bacav.King,92F.3d1031(10thCir.1996) .. 15-16

CapeHatterasAccessPres.Alliancev.Dep’tofInterior,344F.Supp.2d108(D.D.C.2004) …12

CatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.

U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,

75F.3d1429(10thCir.1996)………. 5,11-13

CitizenstoPreserveOvertonPark,Inc.v.

Volpe,401U.S.402(1971)………………………. 14-15

DiamondRingRanch,Inc.v.Morton,

531F.2d1397(10thCir. 1976)……… 4,15-16

DouglasCountyv.Babbitt,

48F.3d1495(9thCir.1995)……….. 5,10-13

DrakesBayOysterCov.Jewell,

  1. 13-15227,2014WL114699

(9thCir.Jan.14,2014)……. 3-5,10-11,14,16

InrePolarBearEndangeredSpeciesActListingand§4(d)RuleLitigation,

818F.Supp.2d214(D.D.C.2011)……………….. 12

Merrellv.Thomas,807F.2d776(9thCir.1986)..10

MiddleRioGrandeConservancyDist.v.Norton,

294F.3d1220(10thCir.2002)……………………… 12

Mollohanv.Gray,413F.2d349

(9thCir. 1969). . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . . 4,14-15

NessInv.Corpv.USDA.,ForestServ.,

512F.2d706(9thCir. 1975)…………..4,14

 

NessInv.Corpv.USDA,ForestService,

360F. Supp. 127 (D. Ariz. 1973)………………. 15-16

Rapanosv.UnitedStates,547U.S.715(2006)…….. 1

Sabinv.Butz,515F.2d1061

(10th Cir.1975)……………………………………… 15-16

Sackettv. E.P.A., 132 S. Ct. 1367(2012)…………….. 1

SanLuis&Delta-MendotaWaterAuthorityv.

Jewell,No.11-15871,2014WL975130(9thCir.Mar. 13,2014)…………………………………….. 10

SolidWasteAgencyofNorthernCookCountyv.

U.S.ArmyCorpsofEngineers,

531 U.S.159 (2001)……………………………………… 1

Stricklandv.Morton,

519 F.2d467 (9th Cir.1975)………………………… 14

UtahSharedAccessAlliancev.Carpenter,

463 F.3d1125 (10th Cir. 2006)……………………… 12

UtahnsforBetterTransp.v.UnitedStatesDep’t

ofTransp., 305F.3d1152(10thCir. 2002)……… 13

Rules

  1. Ct.R.37.2(a)…………………………………………… 1
  2. Ct.R.37.6………………………………………………. 1

Statutes

5 U.S.C.§701(a)(2)……………………………………….. 14

43U.S.C. §315b . .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .4,15Pub.L.No.111-88,123Stat.2904(2009)…..3,15

 

Miscellaneous

Buccino,Sharon,NEPAUnderAssault:CongressionalandAdministrative

ProposalsWouldWeakenEnvironmentalReviewandPublicParticipation,

12N.Y.U.Envtl.L.J.50(2003)…………………….. 13

Bureauwebsite,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html(lastvisitedMay12,2014)…………………………….. 6

PublicLandsCouncil,PublicLandsGrazing,AnIntegralSegmentoftheU.S.LivestockIndustry,availableathttp://publiclandscouncil.org/CMDocs/PublicLandsCouncil/New%20Website/Public%20Lands%20Ranching%20Overview.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014)……… 9

U.S.Dep’tofInterior,BureauofLandMgmt.,FiscalYear2012RangelandInventory,Monitoring,andEvaluationReport,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/rangeland.Par.30896.File.dat/Rangeland

2012.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014)………………… 7

U.S.GeneralServicesAdministration,FederalRealPropertyProfileasofSeptember30,2004,Table16,at18-19,availableathttp://www.gsa.

 

gov/graphics/ogp/Annual_Reportl_R2M-n11_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf

 

FY2004_Fina

 

(lastvisitedMay 12, 2014)………………………….. 7-8

 

PursuanttoRule37.2(a),PacificLegalFoundation(PLF)andCaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation(CCA)respectfullysubmitthisbriefamicuscuriaeinsupportofthePetitioners.1

PLFisthemostexperiencedpublicinterestlegalorganizationadvancinganddefendingconstitutionalrightsandlimitationsongovernmentintheareaofenvironmentallaw.PLF’sattorneyshaveparticipatedasleadcounselorcounselforamiciinseveralcasesbeforethisCourtinvolvingaccesstofederalcourtsandjudicialoversightofagencyaction.See,e.g.,Sackettv.E.P.A.,132S.Ct.1367(2012);Rapanosv.United

States,547U.S.715(2006);SolidWasteAgencyofNorthernCookCounty v.U.S. ArmyCorpsofEngineers,531U.S.159(2001).

CCAisamutualbenefitcorporationorganizedunderCalifornialawin1923asan“agriculturalandhorticultural,nonprofit,cooperativeassociation”topromotetheinterestsoftheindustry.MembershipintheCCAisopentoanypersonorentityengagedinbreeding,producing,maturing,orfeedingcattle,orwholeaseslandforcattleproduction.TheCCAisthe

 

1PursuanttothisCourt’sRule37.2(a),allpartieshaveconsentedtothefilingofthisbrief.Counselofrecordforallpartiesreceivednoticeatleast10dayspriortotheduedateofAmiciCuriae’sintentiontofilethisbrief.LettersevidencingsuchconsenthavebeenfiledwiththeClerkoftheCourt.

PursuanttoRule37.6,AmiciCuriaeaffirmthatnocounselforanypartyauthoredthisbriefinwholeorinpart,andnocounselorpartymadeamonetarycontributionintendedtofundthepreparationorsubmissionofthisbrief.NopersonotherthanAmiciCuriae,theirmembers,ortheir counselmadeamonetarycontributiontoitspreparationorsubmission.

 

 

predominantorganizationofcattlegrazersinCaliforniaand,actinginconjunctionwithitsaffiliatedlocalorganizations,itendeavorstopromoteanddefendtheinterestsofthelivestockindustry.CCAhasseveral memberswhoranch withintheboundariesofthePointReyesNationalSeashoreunderreservationsofuse andoccupancy and/or special use permitsfromtheNationalParkService,andthesemembershaveastronginterestinensuringthattheNationalParkServicecomplieswithapplicablelawswhenactingonfuturerenewalsoftheirpermits.CCAalsohasmanymemberswhoholdfederallyissuedgrazingpermitsinmanyareas ofCalifornia,andthedecisionbelowimpactshowtheAdministrativeProcedureAct(APA)andtheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyAct(NEPA)applytoagencyactionsonthosepermits.

CCAmembersandotherfederalgrazingpermitholdersintheNinthCircuitcurrentlylackaccesstothefederalcourtsequaltothatenjoyedbyidenticallysituatedfederalgrazingpermitholdersintheTenthCircuit.And,underthedecisionbelow,federalagenciesareexemptfromNEPAwhentheyrefusetorenewCCAmembers’grazingpermitsintheNinthCircuit,whileintheTenthCircuitthesame agenciesaresubjecttoNEPA.

 

 

INTRODUCTIONANDSUMMARYOFREASONS

FORGRANTINGTHEPETITION

ThePetitionpresentsthequestionwhetherfederalcourtslackjurisdictionundertheAPAtoreviewanagencyactionforabuseofdiscretionwhentheauthorizingstatutefortheactionlacksspecificlimitationsonthescopeoftheagency’sdiscretion.Petitionat1.ThePetitionidentifiesabroadsplitamongvariousfederalcircuitcourtsonthisquestion,includingseveralspecificexamplesofcasesinwhichdifferentcircuitshavegivenconflictinganswerstothisquestioninthecontextofthesameclassofagencydecisions.Id.at14-18.

OneofthecircuitsplitslistedasabasisforgrantingthePetitionisbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsontheissueofAPAreviewoffederalgrazingpermitdecisions.Id.at19.Thisbriefprovidesadditionaldetailonthisissue’simportancetothousandsofranchingfamiliesacrossthenation,andwhytheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoresolvethiscircuitsplitaffectingtensofmillionsofacresoffederalgrazinglands.

ThedecisionbelowinvolvestheInteriorSecretary’srefusaltorenewapermitforanexistingoysterfarminanationalseashoreundersection124ofPublic Law 111-88, 123 Stat. 2904, 2932 (2009)

(Section124),andthescopeofjudicialreviewunderthatstatute.DrakesBayOysterCov.Jewell, No.13-15227,2014WL114699,at*1(9thCir.Jan.14,2014).

ThequestionspresentedinthePetitionareimportantfarbeyondthisonepermitorstatute.Thousandsofranchersgrazelivestockontensofmillionsofacresoffederallandunderrenewablefederalgrazingpermits

 

 

inthestatescomprisingtheNinthandTenthCircuits.TheBureauofLandManagement(Bureau)renewsthesepermitsundertheTaylorGrazingAct,43U.S.C.

  • 315b,whichaffordstheBureauthesamebroaddiscretionthatSection124affordstheInteriorSecretary(Secretary).

DrakesBayentrenchespriorNinthCircuitcaselawholdingthatBureaugrazingpermitdecisionsarenotsubjecttoAPAreview.DrakesBayreliesonNessInv.Corpv.USDA.,ForestServ.,512F.2d706(9thCir.1975),inholdingthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewtheoysterfarm’spermitisnotsubjecttoAPAreview.DrakesBay,2014 WL 114699,at*1,6.NessinturnreliesontheNinthCircuit’sdecisioninMollohanv.Gray,413F.2d349,352(9thCir.1969),whichholdsthatdecisionsongrazingpermitsundertheTaylorGrazingActarenotsubjecttojudicialreviewundertheAPA.SeeNess,512F.2dat716(“wesharetheviewofthepanel[]whichdecidedMollohan”).TheNinth Circuit conflictswiththe Tenth CircuitonjudicialreviewofgrazingpermitdecisionsundertheAPA.DiamondRing Ranch,Inc.v.Morton,531F.2d1397,1406(10thCir.1976)(“TheTaylorGrazingActdoesnotfallwithinthelimitedclassofnon-reviewability.”).SincealmostallfederallandsmanagedundergrazingpermitsareintheNinthorTenthCircuits,thissplitdividesvirtuallytheentirerelevantpartofthecountryforpurposesoffederalgrazingmanagement.GrantingthePetitionwillprovidethisCourttheabilitytoresolvemuchmorethanwhethertheSecretary’srefusaltorenewtheoysterfarm’spermitissubjecttoAPAreview;itwillalsoresolvethesplitbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonwhetherrenewaldecisionsonmorethan

 

 

18,000grazingpermits,regulating155-millionacresoffederalland,aresubjecttoAPAreview.

ThedecisionbelowalsoholdsthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewapermitforapre-existingactivityisnotsubject to NEPA ifthe refusalischaracterized asa“conservation effort,”relyingonthe NinthCircuit’sholdinginDouglasCountyv.Babbitt,48F.3d1495,1505-06(9thCir.1995)(criticalhabitatdesignationundertheEndangeredSpeciesActnotsubjecttoNEPAbecause“ESAfurthersthegoalsofNEPA”).DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12.TheNinthCircuitalsoconflictswiththeTenthCircuitontheapplicationofNEPAtoagencyactionsthatpurporttobenefittheenvironment.CatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,75F.3d1429,1437(10thCir.1996)(environmentalconservationpurposedoesnotexemptfederalactionfromNEPA).BecauseDrakesBayextendsDouglasCountytopermitnonrenewals,itisprecedentthatNEPAdoesnotapplytorefusalstorenewfederalgrazingpermitsintheNinthCircuit.Assuch,DrakesBayalsoconflictswiththeTenthCircuit’sdecisioninCatronCounty.

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoresolvethesplitsbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonwhetherapermitrenewaldecisionissubjecttoAPAreview,andwhetherNEPAappliestoarefusaltorenewapermitiftheagencycharacterizestherefusalasenvironmentallybeneficial.

 

 

REASONSFOR  GRANTINGTHEPETITION

I

Bureaugrazingpermitdecisionsregulateapredominantuseofover150millionacresofthenation’sfederallands,almostallofwhichfallwithintheNinthorTenthCircuits.

LivestockgrazingunderBureaupermitsisoneofthemajorusesoffederallandinelevenwesternstatescomprisingmuchoftheNinthandTenthCircuits.TheBureau managesroughly 245-million acres of federalland.Ofthoseacres,155million—orapproximately63%—areusedforlivestock grazingundermorethan18,000Bureaupermitscovering21,000separategrazingallotments.2

Asthetablebelowshows,almostalloftheseallotmentsareineithertheNinthorTenthCircuits.WhiletheNinthCircuithasappellatejurisdictionoverabouttwo-thirdsofthefederalgrazingacreage,thenumberofgrazingpermitsisfairlyevenlydividedbetweenthetwocircuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Bureauwebsite,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/grazing.html(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

Circuit/State BureauAllot-ments3 Allot-mentAcres(millions) %federallyownedland4
NinthCircuit
California 681 7.2 45.30%
Oregon/Washington 2,028 13.6 53.11%/30.33%
Arizona 820 11.4 48.06%
Nevada 798 43.4 84.48%
Idaho 2,175 11.5 50.19%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3ThenumberofallotmentsandallotmentacreagefromtheBureau’s2012RangelandInventory,Monitoring,andEvaluationReport,Table6,availableathttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/rangeland.Par.30896.File.dat/Rangeland2012.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

4Percentageofeachstatewhichisfederallyowned,fromU.S.GeneralServicesAdministration,FederalRealPropertyProfileasofSeptember30,2004,Table16,at18-19,availableathttp://www.gsa.gov/graphics/ogp/Annual_ReportFY2004_Final_R2M-n11_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

Montana/Dakotas5 5,222 8.2 29.92%/4.49%
TotalNinthCircuit 11,724 95.3 48.58%
TenthCircuit
NewMexico 2,282 12.8 41.77%
Utah 1,393 21.6 57.45%
Wyoming 3,531 17.6 42.33%
Colorado 2,416 7.9 36.63%
TotalTenthCircuit 9,622 59.9 43.77%

 

ThisdatashowsthatabouthalfofthelandinthewesternUnited States isfederallyowned.Accordingto the U.S. General ServicesAdministration, grazingisthesecondmostpredominantspecificuseoffederallands,6andthefivestateswiththelargestfederallandholdingsareallintheNinthCircuit.AccordingtothePublicLandsCouncil,anorganizationofstateandnationalcattle,sheep,andgrasslandassociations,

 

5Montana,intheNinthCircuit,andtheDakotas,intheEighthCircuit,aremanagedbyoneBureaustateoffice,anddataonallotmentsandacresexclusivelyforMontanaarenotreadilyavailable.ThelowpercentageoffederallandintheDakotassuggeststhatmostoftheallotmentsandgrazingacresshownareinMontana.ThetotalsfortheNinthCircuitstatesincludethecombinedallotmentandallotmentacresfiguresforMontanaandtheDakotas,butdonotincludetheDakotasinthetotalpercentageoffederallandownedintheNinthCircuitstates.

 

6   FederalRealPropertyProfile2004,supra,Table14,at16.

 

 

approximately40%ofthebeefcowsinthewesternUnitedStates,andhalfofthenation’ssheepherds,spendsometimeingrazingallotmentsonpubliclands.Averylargenumberofruralcommunitiesaredependentonfederallypermittedgrazingforemployment,commerce,andtaxrevenuetosupportpublicservices.7

WiththeNinthandTenthCircuitseachgoverningabouthalfofallfederalgrazingpermits,thesetwocircuits mustbealigned on fundamentalquestions oflawrelatingtorenewalofgrazingpermits,includingtheapplicationofNEPA,andjudicialreviewundertheAPA.

II

TheCourtshouldgrant

thePetitionbecausetheNinthandTenthCircuitsaresplitontwolegalstandardsforgrazingpermitrenewals.

  1. TheNinthCircuitholdsthatadecisionnottorenewanaturalresourcepermitisexemptfromNEPAiftheagencycharacterizesthedecisionasaconservationeffort,whiletheTenthCircuitrejectspreciselysuchanexemption.

Bycharacterizingtherefusaltorenewafederalgrazingpermitasaconservationaction,theBureauneednotcomplywithNEPAforpermitsthroughout

 

7PublicLandsCouncil,PublicLandsGrazing,AnIntegralSegmentoftheU.S.LivestockIndustry,availableathttp://publiclandscouncil.org/CMDocs/PublicLandsCouncil/New

%20Website/Public%20Lands%20Ranching%20Overview.pdf(lastvisitedMay12,2014).

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

theNinthCircuit,includingjustinsidetheeasternbordersofArizona, Nevada,andIdaho.But,theagencymustcomplywithNEPAforidenticaldecisionsintheneighboringTenthCircuitstatesofNewMexico,Utah,andWyoming.

Thedecisionbelowholdsthatafederalagency’srefusaltorenewanexistingpermitisnotsubjecttoNEPAiftherefusalpurportstobea“conservationeffort,”evenwheretherecordshowsthatfailuretorenewhasadverseimpacts. DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12.8DrakesBayechoestheNinthCircuit’sdecisioninDouglasCounty,48F.3dat1506(designationofcriticalhabitatundertheEndangeredSpeciesActexemptfromNEPAbecausehabitatdesignationfurthersNEPA’spurpose).DrakesBayandDouglasCountybothrestontherationalethatactionsintendedtobenefittheenvironmentshouldnotbesubjectedtothe“obstructionisttactic”ofcomplyingwithNEPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*13(citingDouglasCounty,48F.3dat1508).

DouglasCountyaddressedtheapplicationofNEPAtocriticalhabitatdesignationsasanissueoffirstimpressionin1995.48F.3dat1501.DouglasCountyfirstheldthatdesignationofcriticalhabitatisexemptfromNEPAbyanalogizingtoMerrellv.Thomas,807F.2d776,778-80(9thCir.1986),which

 

8TheNinthCircuitrecentlystatedinSanLuis&Delta-MendotaWaterAuthorityv.Jewell,No.11-15871,2014WL975130,at*54(9thCir.Mar.13,2014),thatDrakesBaydoesnot“stand forthepropositionthateffortstopreservethenaturalenvironmentareperseexemptfromNEPA.”But,thisispreciselywhatDrakesBaydoessay.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*12(“TheSecretary’sdecisionisessentiallyanenvironmentalconservationeffort,whichhasnottriggeredNEPAinthepast.”).

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

heldthatproceduresthatduplicateorpreventcompliancewithNEPAindicatecongressionalintenttoexempttheprocessfromNEPA.9DouglasCounty,48F.3dat1502-04.DouglasCountyalsoheldthatNEPAdoesnotapplytocriticalhabitatdesignation“becausetheESAfurthersthegoalsofNEPAwithoutdemandinganEIS.”Id.at1506.ThisholdinginDouglasCountyreliesonthepropositionthatNEPAdoesnotapplytofederalactionsthatdonothingtoalterthenaturalphysicalenvironment.Id.at1505-06(“[W]henafederalagencytakesanactionthatpreventshumaninterferencewiththeenvironment,itneednotprepareanEIS.”).

TheTenthCircuitcomprehensivelyreviewedDouglasCountyinCatronCountyBd.ofComm’rs,NewMexicov.U.S.Fish&WildlifeServ.,75F.3dat1435-38,andrejecteditentirely,includingthe“conservationeffort”holding.TheTenthCircuitdirectlyrejectedthepropositionthatprojectsintendedtobenefittheenvironmentshouldnotbesubjecttoreviewunderNEPA,becausethisbegsthequestionthatNEPAisspecificallyenactedtoanswer.Id.at1437.AmorerecentdecisionoftheTenthCircuitfollowsCatronCountyinholdingthatNEPAappliestocriticalhabitat

 

 

9DouglasCountyalsoofferstheputativeassurancethatexcusingafederalagencyfromNEPAincriticalhabitatdesignationswouldnotyield“uncheckeddiscretioninmakingcriticalhabitatdesignations,”since“theproceduralrequirementsoftheESA,combinedwithreviewofdecisionspossibleundertheAdministrativeProcedureAct,areadequatesafeguards.”48F.3dat1505.Yetwhilethedecisionbelowreliesonthe“conservationeffort”holdingofDouglasCountytoexemptarefusaltorenewapermitfromNEPA,thesamedecisionalsoholdsthatthereisnojurisdictiontoreviewtherefusalundertheAPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*1.

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

  1. MiddleRioGrandeConservancyDist.v.Norton,294F.3d1220,1230(10thCir.2002)(FishandWildlifeServicerequiredtoprepareEIStodesignatecriticalhabitatforsilveryminnow.).10

TheUnitedStatesDistrictCourtfortheDistrictofColumbiaalsofollowedCatronCountyinrejectingthegovernment’sassertionthatNEPAdoesnotapplytocriticalhabitatdesignations.CapeHatterasAccessPres.Alliancev.Dep’tofInterior,344F.Supp.2d108,136(D.D.C.2004)(becausecriticalhabitatdesignationsignificantlyaffectsthehumanenvironment,governmentmust“determinetheextentoftheimpactincompliancewithNEPA”).Inanothercase,thesamecourtrejectedtheSecretary’sarguments,basedonDouglasCounty,thatNEPAdoesnotapplytoSpecialRulesunderSection4(d)oftheESA,andheldthatNEPArequiresatleastthepreparationofanEnvironmentalAssessment.InrePolarBearEndangeredSpeciesActListingand§4(d)RuleLitigation,818F.Supp.2d214,236-38(D.D.C.2011)

(citingandapplyingreasoningofCatronCountytoESASection4(d)SpecialRules).

ThecircuitsplitbetweentheNinthandTenthCircuitsonNEPAcreatesregionallegalvariationsforrenewalofgrazingpermits,inwhichpermitsintheNinth Circuit are exposed to greater risk of

 

 

10           InUtahSharedAccessAlliancev.Carpenter,theTenthCircuitruledthatclosureofcertainpubliclandstooff-roadvehicleswasnotsubjecttoNEPA,and commented in a footnotethatifthepartieshadarguedthattheclosurewereamajorfederalaction,therationaleofDouglasCountymightapply.463F.3d1125,1136n.4(10thCir.2006).ThisdiscussionistangentialatbesttotheNEPAholdinginUtahSharedAccess,andthecasedoesnotexamineDouglasCountyinanydepth.

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

  1. AmicusCCAmembersholdmanyofthe572federalgrazingpermitsissuedbytheBureauinCalifornia.BecausetheNinthCircuitexcusesagenciessuchastheBureaufromcomplyingwithNEPAwheretheagencypurportstoacttoimprovetheenvironment,theBureauhasanincentivetoavoidNEPAresponsibilitiesbythesimpleexpedientofrecastingeveryrefusaltorenewapermitasenvironmentallybeneficial.ThelackofaNEPAanalysisin suchcircumstanceshamstringspermitholdersandmembersofthepublicintheirefforttolearnmoreaboutthedecision,provideinput,andtesttheassertionthatthedecisionisbeneficial.SharonBuccino,NEPAUnderAssault:CongressionalandAdministrativeProposalsWouldWeakenEnvironmentalReviewandPublicParticipation,12

N.Y.U.Envtl.L.J.50,53(2003)(“CourtshaveconsistentlyrecognizedNEPA’sdualgoalsof‘informeddecisionmakingandinformedpubliccomment.’”)(citingUtahnsforBetterTransp.v.UnitedStatesDep’tofTransp.,305F.3d1152,1163(10thCir.2002)).Excusingagenciesthatpermitthe useofnaturalresourcesonpubliclandsfromcomplyingwithNEPAiftheyrefusetorenew(whilerequiringcompliancewithNEPAforrenewingthesamepermits)improperlytipsthebalancetowardnonrenewal.

Meanwhile,federalgrazingpermitholdersinthestatescomprisingtheTenthCircuitarefreeofthischicanery,becauseCatronCountyrejectsDouglasCounty’s“conservationeffort”holding.TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoestablishauniformnationalrulefortheapplicationofNEPAtoagencyrefusals torenewpermits,whentheagencycontendstherefusalsare“conservationefforts.”

 

 

  1. TheBureaucannotarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenewa

grazingpermitwithoutanswering  tothefederalcourtsundertheAdministrativeProcedureActin    theTenthCircuit,butitcanrefuserenewalswithimpunityintheNinth.

TheNinthCircuithasdisclaimedjurisdictionundertheAdministrativeProcedure Acttoreviewanarbitraryorcapriciousrefusaltorenewanexistinggrazingpermit.SeeMollohanv.Gray,413F.2dat352(decisionsorrefusalstoissueorrenewagrazingpermitundertheTaylorGrazingActarenotsubjecttoreviewundertheAPA).FollowingthisCourt’ssubsequentdecisioninCitizenstoPreserveOvertonPark,Inc.v.Volpe,401U.S.402,410(1971),that5

U.S.C.§ 701(a)(2)deprives federalcourts ofAPAjurisdictiononly“inthoserareinstanceswhere‘statutesaredrawninsuchbroadtermsthatinagivencase there isnolaw to apply,’” (citationomitted),theNinthCircuitre-examinedandaffirmedtheprinciplesinMollohan,holdingthatfederalcourtslackedjurisdictiontohearachallengetothedenialofahomesteadapplicationundertheClassificationandMultipleUseActof1964.Stricklandv.Morton,519F.2d467,468-70(9thCir.1975).SeealsoNess,512F.2dat716(“wesharetheviewofthepanel[]whichdecidedMollohan”).Inturn,DrakesBayreliesonNessinholdingthattheSecretary’srefusaltorenewPetitioner’spermitisnotreviewableundertheAPA.DrakesBay,2014WL114699,at*6.11

 

11      EvenwithoutitsrelianceonNessandMollohan,DrakesBay

isprecedentthatarefusaltorenewagrazingpermitisnot

(continued…)

 

 

WhentheBureauarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusestorenewagrazingpermitintheTenthCircuit,thefederalcourtshavejurisdictiontoreviewtheactionundertheAdministrativeProcedureAct.DiamondRingRanch,Inc.v.Morton,531F.2dat1406,statessquarelythat“[t]heTaylorGrazingActdoesnotfallwithinthelimitedclassofnon-reviewability,seeSabinv.Butz,515F.2d1061,1064-65(10thCir.1975).”

SabindeclinestofollowMollohan.515F.2dat1065(federalcourtshavejurisdictionundertheAPAtoreviewForestServicerefusaltoissueapermitforskiinstruction).InSabin,theTenthCircuitconstruedCitizenstoPreserveOvertonParknarrowly,butnotedthebroaderinterpretationofthefederaldistrictcourtinNessInv.Corpv.USDA,ForestService,360F.Supp.127(D.Ariz.1973).12

 

11 (…continued)

reviewableundertheAPA.Bothofthefederalstatutes,forrenewalofPetitioner’sspecialusepermitinthePointReyesNationalSeashore,andforrenewalofgrazingpermitsonfederalland,extendverybroaddiscretiontotherelevantagencytograntordenypermits.ComparePub.L.No.111-88,§124,123Stat.2904,2932(2009)(“Section124”inthedecisionbelow)(“[T]heSecretaryoftheInteriorisauthorizedtoissueaspecialusepermitwiththesametermsandconditionsastheexistingauthorization[.]”),with43U.S.C.§315b(“Such[grazing]permitsshallbeforaperiodofnotmorethantenyears,subjecttothepreferencerightofthepermitteestorenewalinthediscretionoftheSecretaryoftheInterior….”).

 

12Bacav.King,92F.3d1031,1037(10thCir.1996),citesMollohanfortheinabilityofthecourtstoorderBureautorenewagrazingpermit.TheplaintiffinBacawaschallengingalandexchangeundertheFederalLandPolicyandManagementAct,id.at1032,thatledtothecancellationofhisgrazingpermit,id.at1033.TheTenthCircuitruledthattheplaintifflackedstandingbecausehisinjurieswerenotredressablebasedonthereliefhe

(continued…)

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

DrakesBayreliesonNess(noAPAreviewofdenialofForestServicepermit),whichreliesinturnonMollohan(noAPAreviewofcancellationofgrazingpermit).TheseNinthCircuitdecisionsconflictwiththeTenthCircuit’sdecisionsinSabin(APAreviewofdenialofForestServicepermit)andDiamondRingRanch(APAreviewofgrazingpermitdecision).So,grantingthePetitionwillnotjustresolvewhethertheSecretary’srefusaltorenewPetitioners’permitissubjecttoAPAreview.GrantingthePetitionwillresolvethecircuitsplitsonAPAreviewofgrazingpermits (Mollohan/DiamondRingRanch) andForestServicediscretionarypermits(Ness/Sabin).

ThecircuitsplitonAPAreviewofgrazingpermitdecisionsresultsinatypeofsecond-classcitizenshipforgrazingpermitholdersintheNinthCircuit.TheyholdapermitwhichtheBureaucanarbitrarilyorcapriciouslyrefusetorenew,foranyreasonornoreason,withoutbeingaccountabletothefederalcourtsundertheAPA.Grazingpermitholdersin theTenthCircuit,however,areabletobringidenticalrefusalsbeforethefederal courtsundertheAPA.Asaresult,grazingpermitholdersintheTenthCircuithaveamoreusefulandvaluableFirstAmendmentrighttopetitiontheirgovernment,becausetheycanpetitionboththeExecutiveandJudicialBranches.ThoseintheNinth,meanwhile,mayonlypetitionthesameExecutiveBranchagencythatrefusestorenewtheirpermits,secureintheknowledgeitisunaccountabletothefederalcourts.

 

 

12 (…continued)

  1. Id.at1037.TheplaintiffhadnotdirectlychallengedthecancellationofhispermitundertheAPA,onlythelandswap.

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetitiontoeliminatethisregionallybasedsecond-classcitizenshipforgrazingpermitholdersandestablishauniformruleofjurisdictionundertheAPA.

CONCLUSION

TheCourtshouldgrantthePetition.DATED:May,2014.

Respectfullysubmitted,

 

DAMIENM.SCHIFFANTHONYL.FRANÇOIS

CounselofRecordPacificLegalFoundation930GStreet

Sacramento,California95814

Telephone:(916)419-7111

Facsimile:(916)419-7747

E-mail:dms@pacificlegal.orgE-mail:alf@pacificlegal.org

CounselforAmiciCuriaePacificLegalFoundationandCaliforniaCattlemen’sAssociation

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