Skip to Content

Home > Learn More > References > Sierra Club v. Bosworth

< Previous | Next >

Sierra Club v. Bosworth

Plaintiffs Sierra Club and Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign (Sierra Club) sued in federal district court alleging the United States Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture (USFS) violated the National Environmental Policy Act[1](NEPA) by promulgating a "categorical exclusion" (CE) for all fuel reduction projects less than 1,000 acres and all burn projects less than 4,500 acres (the "Fuels CE"). Sierra Club challenged the application of the Fuels CE to projects in the Eldorado and Lassen National Forests, and sought a nation-wide injunction against USFS use of the Fuels CE. The district court granted summary judgment for USFS, finding the agency was not required to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), that Sierra Club had not demonstrated that USFS used irrational methodology, and that USFS had adequately demonstrated that no extraordinary circumstances existed that would trigger the requirement for an EA or EIS for the challenged Eldorado and Lassen National Forest Fuels CE projects. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reviewed the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, under the Administrative Procedure Act's[2](APA) "arbitrary and capricious" standard for agency action. Finding the agency's promulgation of the Fuels CE arbitrary and capricious, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment.

Here is the ruling: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT - Sierra Club v. Bosworth