December 3, 2007
District Court Denies Injunction on Atlantic Rim
On Friday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied a preliminary motion filed by Natural Resources Defense Council, et al., seeking to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from drilling or approving new wells in the Atlantic Rim Project Area.
In the decision the Court stated, "The development of domestic energy resources is of paramount public interest and will be harmed (at least to some extent) if that development is delayed."
"Granting a preliminary injunction, when the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the requisite irreparable harm and likelihood of success on the merits, would not further the public interest in Wyoming or the Nation."
In the ruling the Court found that "Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a violation of either NEPA or the CWA by the BLM," further holding that BLM provided adequate public participation; BLM adequately considered the alternative mitigation measures; and that BLM did take a "hard look" at potential impacts.
The Court concluded that granting plaintiffs request for a preliminary injunction would impose a significant hardship on the defendants and other interested parties and would be contrary to the public interest.
Associate State Director Jim Murkin said, "We're pleased with the decision. It shows we did a thorough job during our land use planning process."
Other plaintiffs in the case include: Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Western Watershed Project and Wyoming Wilderness Society.
The case caption is Natural Resources Defense Council, et al. v. Kempthorne, Civ. Action No. 07cv1706 (RJL) (D. D.C.).