June 20, 2014
Boyle rules against CHAPA in lawsuit to stop ORV rule
By IRENE NOLAN
District Court Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North
Carolina today ruled against the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation
Alliance in its lawsuit to try to overturn the National Park Service's
off-road vehicle law and final rule for the seashore, which became
effective in February 2012.
The lawsuit was filed the same month
the ORV plan became effective against the Secretary of Interior,
Director of the National Park Service, and superintendent of Cape
Hatteras National Seashore. The Defenders of Wildlife and the National
Parks Conservation Association, represented by the Southern
Environmental Law Center, were allowed as defendant-intervenors.
lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., but
was handed back to Boyle, who handled the original lawsuit, filed in
2007 by environmental groups, against the Park Service for its lack of
an ORV plan. That lawsuit was settled by a consent decree in 2008.
lawsuit claimed, among other things, that the federal government had
not taken into account the seashore's Enabling Legislation, the
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and other
administrative and regulatory laws when it prepared its Environmental
Impact Statement. It also challenged the Park Service's
preparation of a socioeconomic study that was part of the EIS and
claimed that the EIS was not supported by science
asked for a summary judgment in their favor based upon the briefs
submitted to the court. The defendants and the
defendant-intervenors also asked for summary judgment based on their
briefs to the court.
Boyle heard oral arguments in the case on March 24.
his order today, he denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment
and granted the motions of the defendants and intervenors to dismiss
He found in favor of the defendants and intervenors on
every point that was raised, except one. Therefore, the language in the
order that their requests for summary judgment were "granted in part
and denied in part."
The defendants and intervenors had argued
that CHAPA did not have standing to file the lawsuit. Boyle ruled
that the group did have standing.
"At bottom," Boyle wrote in
his order, "CHAPA asks this Court to flyspeck NPS's environmental
analysis in order to identify any minor deficiency to propound as a
basis to reject the final rule, which this court cannot and will not
The Island Free Press will have more coverage of Boyle's ruling in the next few days.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Click here to read Judge Boyle's 23-page decision.