Western Watersheds Project; Center for Biological Diversity; Friends of the Clearwater; WildEarth Guardians; Predator Defense, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Todd Grimm, Idaho Director, Wildlife Services; USDA Wildlife Services, Defendants-Appellees.
and Submitted March 4, 2019
from the United States District Court for the District of
Idaho No. 1:16-cv-00218-EJL-CWD Edward J. Lodge, District
Brooks (argued) and Lauren M. Rule, Advocates for the West,
Boise, Idaho; Kristin F. Ruether, Western Watersheds Project,
Boise, Idaho; for Plaintiffs-Appellants.
W. McArdle (argued), Andrew C. Mergen, Joan Pepin, Shaun M.
Pettigrew, and John P. Tustin, Attorneys; Eric Grant, Deputy
Assistant Attorney General; Jeffrey H. Wood, Acting Assistant
Attorney General; Environment and Natural Resources Division,
United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; Lisa
Jabaily and Leah C. Battaglioli, Trial Attorneys, Marketing,
Regulatory, and Food Safety Programs Division, Office of the
General Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D.C.; for Defendants-Appellees.
Before: Susan P. Graber and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges,
and John R. Tunheim, [*] Chief District Judge.
Law / Article III Standing
panel reversed the district court's dismissal for lack of
Article III standing of an action brought by plaintiff
conservationist groups to enjoin the federal government's
participation in the killing of gray wolves in Idaho pending
additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy
panel analyzed the requirements of Article III standing that
plaintiffs had the burden of establishing.
the panel held that eight declarations from plaintiffs'
members describing how USDA Wildlife Services'
wolf-killing activities threatened their aesthetic and
recreational interests in tracking and observing wolves in
the wild fell under the scope of NEPA's protections, and
the panel noted that causation was established under the
relaxed standard for procedural injuries.
the panel held that the district court erred in finding that
plaintiffs' injuries were not redressable, and in relying
on Goat Ranchers of Or. v. Williams, 379 Fed.Appx.
662 (9th Cir. 2010), which was unpublished and therefore
lacked precedential value, and which was distinguishable on
the facts. The panel held that the proper inquiry was whether
plaintiffs had shown that halting Wildlife Services'
wolf-killing activities pending additional NEPA analysis
could protect their aesthetic and recreational interests in
gray wolves in Idaho. The panel held that plaintiffs had
shown this. The panel remanded for further proceedings.
TUNHEIM, CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiffs brought this action to enjoin the federal
government's participation in the killing of gray wolves
in Idaho pending additional analysis under the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 ("NEPA").
Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Grimm and Wildlife Services
(together, "Wildlife Services"), a component of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service ("APHIS"), violated NEPA by
failing to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
("EIS") on their wolf management activities in
Idaho. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs' action
for lack of Article III standing, holding that Plaintiffs had
not shown that their injuries were redressable because Idaho
could engage in the same lethal wolf management operations
without the help of the federal government. Plaintiffs
appeal. For the reasons below, we reverse and remand.