Today, Western Watersheds Project received news that the Department of Interior Office of Hearings and Appeals has granted WWP's Motion for Summary Judgment in WWP's appeal of the Ely, Nevada Bureau of Land Management's Final Grazing Decision affecting 1.3 million acres of public lands.
Judge Andrew Pearlstein remanded the BLM's decision for further proceedings in keeping with his order of Summary Judgment to Western Watersheds Project.
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Livestock grazing on these public land allotments affects imperiled sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, soils and vegetation. The domestic sheep grazing permitted on these 8 allotments threatens resident Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep with the risk of contracting deadly disease for which bighorn sheep have no immunity.
The grazing decisions were remanded by Judge Pearlstein for BLM's failure to consider adequate alternatives and for its failure to consider the cumulative impacts of its grazing decisions in its NEPA analysis.
In his decision, Administrative Law Judge Andrew Pearlstein cites a recent WWP victory in Idaho federal district court in which the court made clear the need for BLM to apply a "rule of reason" in considering alternatives in its NEPA analysis, particularly in cases with competing resource values.
The new decision reiterates the importance of the BLM's analyzing one or more "eminently reasonable" alternatives that eliminate or significantly reduce grazing levels on the allotments.
Thanks to Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project's NEPA Coordinator for this successful administrative appeal of grazing decisions in Nevada !