FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2008
Brent Fenty 541-330-2638
Jon Marvel 208-788-2290
Ninth Circuit orders Bureau of Land Management to evaluate wilderness values on public lands
PORTLAND, ORE. — The Bureau of Land Management must rewrite its land use plan for southeast Oregon due to a landmark decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. The BLM wrongly refused to evaluate impacts to wilderness values on the public lands in the challenged plan, according to the decision, which overturned a district court decision upholding the plan.
The ruling will have a profound impact on BLM’s management of the public lands it is charged with protecting. The court specifically rejected BLM’s disavowal of “the very idea of wilderness” as one of many resources and values for which the agency must manage. Finding that the law, including BLM’s own guidance documents, unmistakably requires BLM to analyze impacts to a landscape’s wilderness characteristics, the court vacated the plan and ordered BLM prepare a new plan.
UPDATE: Read a Copy of the Decision