- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Environmental Law
- Date Filed: 01-07-2013
- Case #: 11-35269; 11-35292; 11-35305; 11-35322
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam; Circuit Judges Alarcón, Trott, and Paez
- Full Text Opinion
Plaintiffs, various environmental protection organizations and their members, brought suit to prevent the implementation of a new regulation affecting Idaho’s National Forest area known as the Idaho Roadless Rule. This rule provided for the opening of new areas in Idaho’s forest for the building of new roads, logging, and mining. In its adoption of this new regulation, the Forest Service relied on a Biological Opinion issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) for its Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”). The FWS relied on promises to protect a listed species by the supervisor of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest (“IPNF”). Plaintiffs argued that the FWS violated the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) in preparing the opinion, since it relied on a promise to protect, and therefore the new regulation violates the ESA and cannot be implemented. Defendants claimed the Plaintiffs lacked standing and that the issue was not ripe, because the regulation had not been implemented yet. The Ninth Circuit adopted the opinion of the district court as its own in a per curiam opinion. The district court held that the Plaintiffs had proper standing, and that the issue was ripe since their affidavits established sufficient use and enjoyment from the National Forest and that a final regulation was imminent; therefore, this was the only opportunity for Plaintiffs to challenge the rule. However, the Court held that the FWS did not violate the ESA in preparing the Biological Opinion since they did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. The consideration of a promise by the IPNF supervisor to protect those endangered species was not a violation of the ESA. This holding was adopted by the Ninth Circuit and the district court’s grant of summary judgment was upheld. AFFIRMED.