United States District Court, D. Columbia
CARPENTERS INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL, SISKIYOU COUNTY, AMERICAN
FOREST RESOURCE COUNCIL, HAMPTON AFFILIATES, MURPHY COMPANY,
ROUGH & READY LUMBER LLC, PERPETUA FORESTS COMPANY, SENECA
SAWMILL COMPANY, SENECA JONES TIMBER COMPANY, SWANSON GROUP
MFG, LLC, TRINITY RIVER LUMBER COMPANY, Plaintiffs: Mark C.
Rutzick, LEAD ATTORNEY, MARK C. RUTZICK, INCORPORATED, Oak
LEWIS COUNTY, a municipal corporation of the State of
Washington, SKAMANIA COUNTY, a municipal corporation of the
State of Washington, KLICKITAT COUNTY, a municipal
corporation of the State of Washington, Intervenor
Plaintiffs: Ryan Anthony Smith, LEAD ATTORNEY, BROWNSTEIN
HYATT FARBER SCHRECK, Washington, DC; Susan E. Drummond, PRO
HAC VICE, LAW OFFICES OF SUSAN ELIZABETH DRUMMOND, PLLC,
DANIEL M. ASHE, Defendant: Andrea Gelatt, Paul David Barker,
Jr., LEAD ATTORNEYS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Land &
Natural Resources Division, Washington, DC; Clifford Eugene
Stevens, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
SALLY JEWELL, Defendant: Andrea Gelatt, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Land & Natural Resources Division,
Washington, DC; Clifford Eugene Stevens, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC.
OPINION [Dkts. ## 40, 41, 43]
J. LEON, United States District Judge.
the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment by
plaintiffs, plaintiff-intervenors, and defendants. Pls.'
Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 40] (" Pls.' Mot." );
Pl.-Intervenors' Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 41] ("
Intervenors' Mot." ); Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J.
[Dkt. # 43] (" Defs.' Mot." ). In these
motions, the parties dispute the Fish and Wildlife
Services' (" FWS" ) designation of critical
habitat for the northern spotted owl under the Endangered
Species Act. Upon due consideration of the parties'
pleadings, the relevant law, and the entire record herein, I
find that plaintiffs lack standing to bring this suit and,
accordingly, plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
[Dkt. # 40] is DENIED, plaintiff-intervenors' Motion for
Summary Judgment [Dkt. # 41] is DENIED, defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. # 43] is GRANTED, and the
case is DISMISSED.
brought suit against the Secretary of the Interior and the
Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("
FWS" ), alleging that the FWS's designation in 2012
of more than 9.3 million acres of critical habitat for the
northern spotted owl had violated various provisions of the
Oregon and California and Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant Lands Act
of 1937 (" O& C Act" ), 43 U.S.C. § 1181a;
Federal Land Policy and Management Act (" FLPMA" ),
43 U.S.C. § 1732(a); the Administrative Procedure Act
(" APA" ), 5 U.S.C. § § 551-706; the
National Environmental Policy Act (" NEPA" ), 42
U.S.C. § § et seq. ; and the Endangered
Species Act (" ESA" ), 16 U.S.C. § 1531,
et seq. See generally Am. Compl., No.
13-361 [Dkt. # 34].
case is one of three separate actions currently before the
Court, at the summary judgment stage, involving challenges
related to timber sales in the Pacific Northwest and habitat
for the northern spotted owl. See Carpenters Industrial
Council, et al. v. Jewell, et al., No. 13-361 (filed on
March 21, 2013) (" CIC v. Jewell " );
Swanson Group Mfg., LLC, et al. v. Director, Bureau of
Land Management, No. 14-211 (filed on Feb. 13, 2014)
(" Swanson v. BLM " or " Swanson
II " ); American Forest Resource Council, et
al. v. Jewell, No. 14-368 (filed on March 7, 2014)
(" AFRC v. Jewell " ). Prior to commencing
these three actions, many of the same plaintiffs brought suit
in Swanson Group Mfg., LLC, et al. v. Salazar, et
al., No. 10-1843 (filed on Oct. 29, 2010) ("
Swanson I " ).  In Swanson I, I
granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and found
two federal agency actions to be unlawful: (1) the failure to
sale a declared amount of timber from two western Oregon
districts, and (2) the development and use of an Owl
Estimation Methodology. See Order and Mem. Op., No.
10-1843 [Dkts. ## 58, 59]. Defendants appealed that decision
to our Circuit Court, which vacated the summary judgment
ruling on the grounds that the plaintiffs in that case lacked
standing, and, therefore, their challenges to agency actions
must be dismissed. See Swanson Grp. Mfg. LLC v.
Jewell, 790 F.3d 235, 238 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
light of the standing decision in Swanson I and the
significant overlap between the plaintiffs in that case and
the three above-referenced actions, I ordered the parties in
these three cases to show cause in writing why the cases
should not also be dismissed for lack of standing.
See Order to Show Cause, CIC v. Jewell, No.
13-361 [Dkt. # 82]; Swanson II, No. 14-211 [Dkt. #
28]; AFRC v. Jewell, No. 14-368 [Dkt. # 30]. In
response to the show cause orders, plaintiffs in each of the
three actions filed briefs accompanied by ten new
declarations. See CIC v. Jewell, No. 13-361 [Dkts.
## 84-1-84-11]; Swanson II, No. 14-211
[Dkts. ## 30-1-30-11]; AFRC v. Jewell, No. 14-368
[Dkt. # 32-1-32-11]. Defendants then filed a response in each
of the three cases. See CIC v. Jewell, No.
13-361 [Dkts. ## 88, 90]; Swanson II, No. 14-211
[Dkt. # 31]; AFRC v. Jewell, No. 14-368 [Dkt. # 33].
judgment is appropriate when the pleadings and the record
demonstrate that " there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In this case, where
cross-motions for summary judgment are at issue, the Court
draws all reasonable inferences regarding the assertions made
in a light favorable to the non-moving party. Union
Neighbors United, Inc. v. Jewell, 83 F.Supp.3d 280, 285
(D.D.C. 2015). The Court will " grant summary judgment
only if one of the moving parties is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law upon material facts that are not genuinely
disputed." Select Specialty Hosp.-Bloomington, Inc.
v. Sebelius, 774 F.Supp.2d 332, 338 (D.D.C. 2011).
Article III of the Constitution confines the jurisdiction of
the federal courts to actual 'Cases' and
'Controversies,' and . . . 'the doctrine of
standing serves to identify those disputes which are
appropriately resolved through the judicial
process.'" Clinton v. City of New York, 524
U.S. 417, 429-30, 118 S.Ct. 2091, 141 L.Ed.2d 393 (1998)
(quoting Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 155,
110 S.Ct. 1717, 109 L.Ed.2d 135 (1990)). Plaintiffs bear the
burden of demonstrating they have standing to pursue their
claims. SeeLujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992).
" [T]he irreducible constitutional minimum of
standing" requires "  an injury in fact . . .
which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or
imminent, not ...