Great Basin Resource Watch v. BLM, No. 14-16812 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs challenge the BLM's approval of the Mt. Hope Project, a proposed molybdenum mining operation near Eureka, Nevada. Plaintiffs argue that the BLM’s review of the Project under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., was inadequate and that the approval of the Project violated the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1732(b), and the laws governing lands withdrawn under the executive order known as Public Water Reserve No. 107 (PWR 107). The court agreed with plaintiffs' assertion that the BLM’s selection of baseline levels of certain air pollutants was unreasonable and that the BLM’s analysis of cumulative impacts was deficient. The court declined to address plaintiffs' PWR 107 claims because the BLM should be given an opportunity to fix the errors in its analysis of the Project under NEPA before challenges to the approval of the Project itself are entertained, and the proper analysis of the PWR 107 claim turns in large part on whether four springs in the area of the Project are “covered” by PWR 107, but the BLM’s position on that question is unclear. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded with instructions to vacate the record of decision and remand to the BLM.