|We the American Sand
Association (ASA) and a consortium of Off-Road organizations, which
include the San Diego Off-Road Association (SDORC), Off Road Business
Association (ORBA), California Off Road Vehicle Association (CORVA),
AMA District 37 have recently filed in Federal Court an action to
remove the current closures from the Imperial Sand Dune Recreational
At this point, we jump ahead to some of your questions. Some might
wonder why the ASA group would file such a suit when the soon to
be final plan might very well remove the closure. Why would or should
we spend this kind of money now?
Because of the recent negative ruling from the Interior Board of
Land Appeals (IBLA), we fell back to our original plan and presented
our complaint to a Federal Court for review and hopefully a Summary
Judgment. We never felt that we would get fair treatment with the
IBLA and we were right.
The decision to sue in Federal Court at this time becomes dynamic
in a number of ways. This now becomes a contest of moves and counter
moves. Once these tactics play out one by one and we are given approval
by our attorneys to update what we did and why, you'll know ASAP.
We can say that it is anticipated that the CBD will very likely
file for an injunction to stop the final plan depending on what
that plan looks like.
These are the merits under which we are suing :
"The BLM failed to comply with the National Environmental
Policy Act ("NEPA") and the Federal Land Policy Act ("FLPMA")
prior to closing significant portions of the ISDRA. Specifically,
the plaintiffs allege that the BLM violated NEPA when it closed
approx. 49,300 acres of the ISDRA to OHV activities without first:
(1) evaluating the environmental consequences of those closures
and (2) not allowing public review and comment with respect to the
proposed closures and their potential environmental impacts. In
short, the BLM's closure of the ISDRA to OHV use constitutes a major
federal action requiring NEPA review."
"The Environmental Assessment ("EA") fails to properly
analyze, disclose, and mitigate the closure's significant adverse
effects on public recreation and public safety. Worse, although
the EA asserts that the closure is necessary to protect certain
biological resources, neither the EA nor its supporting materials
provide evidence that biological resources are substantially threatened
by recreational activities in the ISDRA."
"For BLM's violations of NEPA, FLPMA and the Administrative
Procedure Act ("APA"), the plaintiffs seek an order from
the Court compelling BLM to lift or otherwise rescind the dune closures
until they are: (1) subjected to full and proper NEPA review; (2)
processed as amendments to the existing CDCA Plan and the RAMP,
which would entail full public notice and participation prior to
approval; and (3) processed as proposed changes to existing OHV
routes, which would require consultation with affected OHV users
prior to approval and implementation. Such relief is necessary to
redress BLM's illegal action, to protect the human environment,
and to safeguard the integrity of the public disclosure and participation
policies articulated in NEPA, FLPMA and the APA."
As meetings ensue and Court dates are met with respect to this
suit, we will update our progress.