In 2007, the Bureau of Land Management adopted a resource management plan that essentially made all public land within the Roan Plateau Planning Area available for leasing to private oil and gas entities. Environmental groups alleged that the BLM, in adopting the plan, failed to satisfy the National Environmental Policy Act’s procedural requirements. In Colorado Environmental Coalition v. Salazar, the district court held that the BLM violated NEPA by failing to adequately consider the plan’s cumulative air quality effects. On remand, the court did not offer the agency any instructions in curing the procedural deficiency. The court’s lack of guidance on remand is consistent with the Tenth Circuit’s refusal to equate NEPA’s procedural requirements with the production of hard data. This Comment argues that the Ninth Circuit’s application of NEPA better promotes the Act’s underlying policies of public awareness and informed decisionmaking without imposing an undue burden on federal agencies.
NEPA and the Roan Plateau: Forcing the Bureau of Land Management to Take a Hard Look,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.