Court Rules Forest Service’s Categorical Exclusion Memos are Arbitrary and Capricious Regarding Livestock Grazing

May 8th, 2012

By: Thomas Law Group



In Western Watersheds v. United States Forest Service, (2012) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45573, petitioners challenged the Forest Service’s alleged practice of reauthorizing livestock grazing on federal land without conducting the proper environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The court concluded that the actions by the Forest Service in connection with the Big Ridge categorical exclusion and Mendocino categorical exclusion decision memos were arbitrary and capricious in certain respects and failed to take the “hard look” required by NEPA. Rather than entering summary judgment, the court directed the parties to confer regarding whether it would be more appropriate for the court to retain jurisdiction while the Forest Service complied with NEPA.

Written By: Tina Thomas and Chris Butcher
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