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Alaska v. United States Department of Agriculture

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 21, 2013

STATE OF ALASKA, Plaintiff, and ALASKA FOREST ASSOCIATION, et al., Intervenor-Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, et al., Defendants and SOUTHEAST ALASKA CONSERVATION COUNCIL, et al., Intervenor-Defendants

Filed March 25, 2013

For STATE OF ALASKA, Plaintiff: Thomas Earl Lenhart, LEAD ATTORNEY, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF LAW, Juneau, AK.

For ALASKA ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER, Intervenor Plaintiff: James F. Clark, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Juneau, AK; Steven William Silver, LEAD ATTORNEY, ROBERTSON, MONAGLE, AND EASTAUGH, Reston, VA.

For ALASKA POWER & TELEPHONE, ALASKA MINERS ASSOCIATION, CITIZEN'S PRO ROAD, ALASKA MARINE LINES, INC., NORTHWEST MINING ASSOCIATION, DURETTE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., FIRST THINGS FIRST FOUNDATION, JUNEAU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, CITY OF KETCHIKAN, doing business as KETCHIKAN PUBLIC UTILITIES, KETCHIKAN GATEWAY BOROUGH, SOUTHEAST STEVEDORING CORP., CHRIS GERONDALE, SOUTHEAST ROADBUILDERS, INC., HYAK MINING CO., INC., INSIDE PASSAGE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, CITY OF CRAIG, Intervenor Plaintiffs: Steven William Silver, LEAD ATTORNEY, ROBERTSON, MONAGLE, AND EASTAUGH, Reston, VA.

For SOUTHEAST ALASKA POWER AGENCY, Intervenor Plaintiff: John Michael Schultz, LEAD ATTORNEY, ATER WYNNE LLP, Portland, OR; Stephen J. Kennedy, PRO HAC VICE, ATER WYNNE LLP, Seattle, WA.

For UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, THOMAS JAMES VILSACK, in his official capacity as Secretary of Agriculture, TOM TIDWELL, in his official capacity as Chief, Forest Service, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOREST SERVICE, Defendants: Barclay Samford, LEAD ATTORNEY, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION, Denver, CO.

For SOUTHEAST ALASKA CONSERVATION COUNCIL, ALASKA CENTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, BOAT COMPANY, TONGASS CONSERVATION SOCIETY, SIERRA CLUB, WILDERNESS SOCIETY, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, GREENPEACE, INC., DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, Intervenor Defendants: Eric Paul Jorgensen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Thomas S. Waldo, PRO HAC VICE, EARTHJUSTICE, Juneau, AK; Nathaniel S.W. Lawrence, PRO HAC VICE, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, Olympia, WA.

For ALASKA FOREST ASSOCIATION, SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE, Intervenors: Mark C. Rutzick, LEAD ATTORNEY, MARK C. RUTZICK, INCORPORATED, Oak Hill, VA; Julie A. Weis, PRO HAC VICE, HAGLUND KELLEY HORNGREN JONES & WILDER LLP, Portland, OR.

Page 31

MEMORANDUM OPINION [Dkts. ##45, 46]

RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

The complaints in this case seek declaratory and injunctive relief for what the State of Alaska and plaintiff intervenors (collectively, " Alaska" ) claim are statutory and administrative-law violations related to the promulgation of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Final Rule and Record of Decision (" Roadless Rule," or the " Rule" ). The federal defendants, United States Department of Agriculture (" USDA" ), et al., move for dismissal of all claims for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Fed. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #45]. The intervenor defendants, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, et al., similarly move to dismiss all claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) as time-barred and unsupported in law. Intervenor Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. #46]. Upon consideration of the parties' pleadings, relevant law, and the entire record herein, the Court concludes that Alaska's claims fail for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because they are untimely. Accordingly, the Court will GRANT the federal defendants' Motion to Dismiss and DENY the intervenor defendants' Motion to Dismiss as MOOT.

BACKGROUND

In the waning hours of the Clinton Administration, the Roadless Rule was signed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Daniel Glickman, on January 5, 2001, and published on January 12, 2001, following three years of deliberation and over 1 million public comments. See Roadless Rule, 66 Fed. Reg. 3,244, 3,247-48 (Jan. 12, 2001) (codified at 36 C.F.R. pt. 294). Acting pursuant to its authority to oversee our national forest system and maintain a road network of over 400,000 miles, the USDA claimed to be responding to ...


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