Wyoming Lodging v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, No. 04-CV-315-B.

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBrimmer
Citation398 F.Supp.2d 1197
PartiesThe WYOMING LODGING AND RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION, a Wyoming nonprofit corporation, Plaintiff, The State of Wyoming, Plaintiff-Intervenor, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; The National Park Service; Gale Norton, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Department of the Interior; and Fran Mainella, in her official capacity as Director of the National Park Service, Defendants.
Decision Date14 October 2005
Docket NumberNo. 04-CV-315-B.
398 F.Supp.2d 1197
The WYOMING LODGING AND RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION, a Wyoming nonprofit corporation, Plaintiff,
The State of Wyoming, Plaintiff-Intervenor,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; The National Park Service; Gale Norton, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Department of the Interior; and Fran Mainella, in her official capacity as Director of the National Park Service, Defendants.
No. 04-CV-315-B.
United States District Court, D. Wyoming.
October 14, 2005.

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Steven F. Freudenthal, Freudenthal, Salzburg, & Bonds, P.C., Monique J. Ojeda, Freudenthal, Salzburg, & Bonds, P.C., Cheyenne, for Plaintiff.

Patrick J. Crank, Attorney General, State of Wyoming, Jay Jerde, Deputy Attorney General, State of Wyoming, Thomas W. Rumpke, Senior Assistant Attorney General, State of Wyoming, Cheyenne, for Plaintiff-Intervenor.

Matthew H. Mead, United States Attorney, Nicholas Vassallo, Assistant United States Attorney, Cheyenne, Lauren Fischer, United States Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, General Litigation Section, Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Andrew C. Emrich, Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Washington, D.C., for Defendants.

ORDER

BRIMMER, District Judge.


This matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Complaint and Plaintiff-Intervenor's Complaint, both of which challenge decisions of the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. After considering the administrative record, reading the briefs, reviewing the materials on file, having heard oral argument, and being fully advised in the premises, the Court FINDS and ORDERS as follows:

STATEMENT OF PARTIES AND JURISDICTION

Plaintiff Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association ("WLRA") is a non-profit corporation organized under Wyoming law. The WLRA is comprised of approximately 400 members, all of whom are involved in the Wyoming lodging and restaurant industry.

Plaintiff-Intervenor State of Wyoming ("Wyoming") intervened in this matter based upon its economic and sovereign interests directly related to recreational snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway.1

Defendant United States Department of the Interior is an executive branch agency of the United States of America responsible for managing national parks in the United States, including Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. Defendant National Park Service ("NPS") is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The National Park Service is responsible for promoting and regulating the use of the national parks in the United States. Defendant Gale Norton is sued in her official

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capacity as the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Defendant Fran Mainella is sued in her official capacity as the Director of the National Park Service. All of the Defendants will be collectively referred to as "Federal Defendants" or "Defendants."

Jurisdiction in this Court is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2) (United States as a defendant), and 5 U.S.C. §§ 702-706 (Administrative Procedure Act right of review). Venue is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) & (e).

BACKGROUND

The case now before the Court is the most recent link in an extended chain of litigation regarding the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park ("Yellowstone"), Grand Teton National Park ("Grand Teton"), and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway ("Parkway") (collectively referred to as "the Parks"). This complex and convoluted saga of related suits encompasses five cases, two separate courts in two different circuits, and over twenty-five parties.2 See, e.g., Fund For Animals v. Norton, 352 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C.2005); Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Ass'n v. Norton, 340 F.Supp.2d 1249 (D.Wyo.2004); Fund for Animals v. Norton, 323 F.Supp.2d 7 (D.D.C.2004); Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Ass'n v. Norton, 304 F.Supp.2d 1278 (D.Wyo.2004); Fund for Animals v. Norton, 294 F.Supp.2d 92 (D.D.C.2003).

The Fund for Animals organization brought the first snowmobile suit against the NPS in 1997.3 In that case, Fund for Animals challenged the then-existing Yellowstone winter use rules, which allowed snowmobiles into the Parks on an essentially unlimited basis, on the grounds that they violated the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and the Endangered Species Act ("ESA"). See Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Ass'n v. Norton, 340 F.Supp.2d at 1253-54. Ultimately, the Fund for Animals and the NPS reached a settlement in which the NPS agreed to prepare an environmental impact statement ("EIS") that focused on snowmobile use and trail grooming in Yellowstone. Id. at 1254.

Upholding their end of the bargain, the NPS issued a Draft EIS ("1999 DEIS") on winter use in the Parks on September 29, 1999. Id. The 1999 DEIS contained seven alternatives for winter use of the Parks, including several alternatives which would have continued snowmobile use in the Parks so long as the machines met new noise and emission standards. Id. One of these alternatives, Alternative B, was the preferred alternative for the NPS at the time the DEIS was issued.

Over a year later, in October 2000, the NPS published the final EIS ("2000 FEIS") for winter use in Yellowstone. Id. The 2000 FEIS was substantially different from the 1999 DEIS in that the last alternative had been revised and had become the preferred alternative. Id. The revised alternative, identified as Alternative G, allowed snowcoach entry into the Parks but prohibited all snowmobile access. Id. Alternative G was officially adopted by the NPS in a November 22, 2000, Record of

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Decision ("2000 ROD"). Id. The 2000 ROD was subsequently implemented by rule ("2001 Snowcoach Rule") on January 18, 2001, the last day of the Clinton Administration. Id. (citing 66 Fed.Reg. 7260, 7268 (January 22, 2001)).

The 2000 FEIS, 2000 ROD, and the 2001 Snowcoach Rule prompted several parties, including the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association ("ISMA"), to bring suit against the NPS in this Court.4 Id. Like ISMA and the other plaintiffs, the State of Wyoming was unhappy with the 2000 FEIS, 2000 ROD, and the 2001 Snowcoach Rule and, consequently, intervened in the suit shortly after its inception. Id. Several other groups intervened as Defendants in the suit. Id.

In June of 2001, the parties reached a settlement agreement which required the NPS to complete a supplemental EIS ("SEIS"), taking into account new snowmobile technology not included in the 2000 FEIS. Id. As part of the settlement, the parties requested this Court to stay all litigation until the SEIS was completed. Id. The stay was granted on July 2, 2001. Id. at 1254-55.

Approximately a year and half later, the NPS finished the SEIS ("2003 SEIS") and made it available to the public on February 24, 2003. See 68 Fed.Reg. 8618 (February 24, 2003). The 2003 SEIS identified Alternative 4 as the preferred alternative. Under this alternative, 950 snowmobiles would be allowed into Yellowstone per day. However, the majority of snowmobiles entering the park would be required to meet best available technology ("BAT") standards and would have to be accompanied by a guide. Alternative 4 was formally adopted by the NPS in a March 25, 2003, Record of Decision ("2003 ROD"). Id. at 1255; A.R. 92624-73. NPS published the final rule on December 11, 2003 ("2003 Rule"). See 68 Fed.Reg. 69,268 (December 11, 2003).

However, before the NPS had issued the final rule, several parties, including the Fund for Animals, challenged the 2003 SEIS and the 2003 ROD in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ("D.C.Court").5 The plaintiffs, although they were without question aware of this Court already having jurisdiction of this issue but obviously hoped for a District of Columbia judge of environmental disposition to give them a decision of their persuasion, alleged that "snowmobiling and trail grooming cause air and noise pollution, threaten wildlife and endangered species, and create health threats to visitors and park employees." Fund for Animals, 294 F.Supp.2d at 97. Thus, given these alleged adverse effects, the plaintiffs argued that "NPS's decision to allow the continuation of these winter activities belie[d] the evidence collected during the rule-making process" and thus violated the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"). Id. The D.C. Court agreed, and on December 16, 2003, only 5 days after the issuance of the 2003 Rule, found that the 2003 SEIS and the 2003 ROD were inadequate. Id. at 115. As a result, the D.C. Court vacated the 2003 SEIS, the 2003 ROD, and the 2003 Rule. Id. The D.C. Court also ordered the NPS to reinstate the 2001 Snowcoach Rule until directed to do otherwise by the court. Id.

Once the D.C. Court reinstated the 2001 Snowcoach Rule, the plaintiffs in the case then pending before this Court moved to lift the stay then imposed. Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Ass'n, 340 F.Supp.2d at 1256. The Court lifted the stay on

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December 31, 2003. Id. After the stay was lifted, the Plaintiffs moved the Court for an order preventing implementation of the 2001 Snowcoach Rule.

On February 10, 2004, this Court granted the plaintiff's motion and issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the NPS from implementing the 2001 Snowcoach Rule.6 Int'l Snowmobile Manufacturers Ass'n, 304 F.Supp.2d at 1293-94. The Court further directed the NPS to "promulgate temporary rules for this 2004 snowmobile season that will be fair and equitable to snowmobile owners...

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16 practice notes
  • N. Arapaho Tribe v. Burwell, Case No. 14–CV–247–SWS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Wyoming
    • February 26, 2015
    ...consider contentions which were not pressed upon the administrative agency.”).Wyoming Lodging & Rest. Ass'n. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1209 (D.Wyo.2005). “Simple fairness to those who are engaged in the tasks of administration, and to litigants, requires as a general ru......
  • Pac. Coast Fed'n of Fishermen's Ass'ns v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, No. 1:12–CV–01303–LJO–MJS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 8, 2013
    ...as the comments brought sufficient attention to the issue. See Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1210 (D.Wyo.2005) ( “[S]o long as the agency is informed of a particular position and has a chance to address that particular position,......
  • Town of Superior v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., Civil Action No. 11-cv-03294-PAB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • December 21, 2012
    ...were not sufficient to show predetermination). In Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association v. United States Department of Interior, 398 F. Supp. 2d 1197, 1216 (D. Wyo. 2005), the plaintiff association challenged a DOI rule on the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park, arguing in part tha......
  • Town of Superior v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., Civil Action Nos. 11–cv–03294–PAB, 12–cv–00034–PAB, 12–cv–00388–PAB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • December 21, 2012
    ...were not sufficient to show predetermination). In Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association v. United States Department of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1216 (D.Wyo.2005), the plaintiff association challenged a DOI rule on the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park, arguing in part that th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • N. Arapaho Tribe v. Burwell, Case No. 14–CV–247–SWS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Wyoming
    • February 26, 2015
    ...consider contentions which were not pressed upon the administrative agency.”).Wyoming Lodging & Rest. Ass'n. v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1209 (D.Wyo.2005). “Simple fairness to those who are engaged in the tasks of administration, and to litigants, requires as a general ru......
  • Pac. Coast Fed'n of Fishermen's Ass'ns v. U.S. Dep't of the Interior, No. 1:12–CV–01303–LJO–MJS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 8, 2013
    ...as the comments brought sufficient attention to the issue. See Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Ass'n v. United States Dep't of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1210 (D.Wyo.2005) ( “[S]o long as the agency is informed of a particular position and has a chance to address that particular position,......
  • Town of Superior v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., Civil Action No. 11-cv-03294-PAB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • December 21, 2012
    ...were not sufficient to show predetermination). In Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association v. United States Department of Interior, 398 F. Supp. 2d 1197, 1216 (D. Wyo. 2005), the plaintiff association challenged a DOI rule on the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park, arguing in part tha......
  • Town of Superior v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., Civil Action Nos. 11–cv–03294–PAB, 12–cv–00034–PAB, 12–cv–00388–PAB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • December 21, 2012
    ...were not sufficient to show predetermination). In Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association v. United States Department of Interior, 398 F.Supp.2d 1197, 1216 (D.Wyo.2005), the plaintiff association challenged a DOI rule on the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park, arguing in part that th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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