220 F.3d 1171 (10th Cir. 2000), 99-1125, CO Farm Bureau Fed v. US Forest Serv.

Docket Nº:99-1125
Citation:220 F.3d 1171
Party Name:COLORADO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION; COLORADO OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION; COLORADO CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION; COLORADO WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE; UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE; COLORADO WILDLIFE COMMISSION; JOHN W. MUMMA, in his official capacity as Director of the Colora
Case Date:July 18, 2000
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
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Page 1171

220 F.3d 1171 (10th Cir. 2000)

COLORADO FARM BUREAU FEDERATION; COLORADO OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION; COLORADO CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION; COLORADO WOOL GROWERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE; UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE; COLORADO WILDLIFE COMMISSION; JOHN W. MUMMA, in his official capacity as Director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 99-1125

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

July 18, 2000

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of COLORADO. D.C. No. 98-D-2696

Page 1172

William Perry Pendley (Monica S. Ernst and William Davis Thode, with him on the brief), of Mountain States Legal Foundation, Denver, Colorado, appearing for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Todd S. Kim, Attorney, Department of Justice (Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General, Albert C. Lin, Andrea L.

Page 1173

Berlowe, Evelyn S. Ying, Attorneys, Department of Justice, Kenneth Capps, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Debra Hecox, U.S. Department of the Interior, with him on the brief), Washington, D.C., appearing for Federal Defendants-Appellees.

Timothy J. Monahan, Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources & Environment Section (Ken Salazar, Attorney General, with him on the brief), Denver, Colorado, appearing for Colorado Wildlife Commission, Colorado Division of Wildlife, and John W. Mumma, Defendants-Appellees.

Before SEYMOUR, Chief Judge, TACHA and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

SEYMOUR, Chief Judge.

Plaintiffs filed this action in federal district court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the State of Colorado's "Lynx Recovery Plan" (the Plan), which proposed to introduce Canadian lynx into Colorado. The complaint alleged that the Forest Service's involvement with the Plan violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A), because the Forest Service failed to follow the environmental reporting requirements set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4332. In a thorough opinion, the district court granted the government's motion to dismiss for lack of Article III standing, and alternatively because it held there was no "major Federal action" triggering the application of NEPA. Plaintiffs appeal and we affirm, albeit on different grounds.1

On appeal, the government contends that we lack jurisdiction over this matter because the complaint fails to allege any final agency action, resulting in lack of standing to pursue a claim under the APA. We review questions of standing de novo. See Utah v. Babbitt, 137 F.3d 1193, 1203 (10th Cir. 1998). When considering a motion to dismiss, we must construe the complaint in favor of the complaining party and assume the truth of all factual allegations. See id. at 1204. Because we agree plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate APA standing, we do not reach the Article III standing issue. See Jean v. Nelson, 472 U.S. 846, 854 (1985) (courts should avoid reaching constitutional issues when statutory determinations are decisive).

Because NEPA does not provide for a...

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