Dave Hardy is far more qualified than I am to comment on the case, being an attorney, and having worked as an attorney for Interior for a number of years.Â He has this to say:
Probably because this was being raced thru in the last days of the Bush Admin., that’s all that Interior did in the way of NEPA. Just applied a categorical. They didn’t put together the usual environmental assessment.
So they got nailed. You can see it coming. NEPA requires analysis of environmental impact, both good and bad. Well, if the rule does good things — allows people to defend themselves against criminals and predatory wildlife — that’s a good impact on the human environment. Which means the categorical exemption is inapplicable.
It was a rushed rule, perhaps prepared by agency personnel who didn’t care, or might even enjoy it if it got struck down. There might have been a chance at winning on standing to sue (and I note from the opinion the government didn’t argue that!).
I guess we’ll just have to take care of this legislatively.Â Now where is that federal lands bill?