American Independence Mines v. U.S. Department of Agriculture

Date: March 01, 2013

The Plaintiffs in this case seek to challenge the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) assessment on a motor vehicle rule issued by the agency. The district court dismissed the case for lack of prudential standing under Ninth Circuit precedent holding that “purely” economic interests are legally insufficient to confer prudential standing in a challenge to a NEPA determination. And the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Petitioners argue that excluding those seeking to protect economic interests from challenging an agency’s compliance with the NEPA sharply conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and the Eighth Circuit on an important, recurring issue of federal law.

NFIB Legal Center filed in this case because the Ninth Circuit ruling effectively bars small businesses from challenging the government on NEPA claims. Under the current ruling, small businesses have absolutely no recourse against an errant NEPA decision, even if it has a profound impact on their business. Accordingly, we are urging the Supreme Court to take up this case.

For more information, commentary and insight view our February 27, 2013 press release

Status:  Pending - U.S. Supreme Court.

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