A challenge to development of part of the Rosebud Mine in Montana has been rejected as unripe by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC) and Sierra Club v. Stone-Manning, 13-35107).
The circuit judges on the panel were Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, Andrew J. Kleinfeld and Marsha S. Berzon. O’Scannlain wrote the opinion. The named defendant is Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
According to a summary prepared by court staff, the panel "held that the plaintiffs lacked standing, and their claims for declaratory and injunctive relief were not ripe. The panel concluded that the plaintiffs’ alleged injury was not imminent because, even assuming arguendo that the Director would not do a proper cumulative hydrologic impact assessment under the Act, the plaintiffs’ allegations did not establish a substantial risk that the Director would grant the permit application at all. Without deciding whether the firm prediction rule applied under the circumstances of this case, the panel held that the rule’s standards for ripeness were not met because the panel could not make a firm prediction that the Director would grant the mining permit application."
"Even if we assume that MEIC can bring this suit on behalf of its members, see Laidlaw, 528 U.S. at 181, its members do not have standing. They have not suffered an 'actual or imminent' injury in fact. Id. at 180," the court said, adding in the next sentence, "Analyzing the sufficiency of MEIC’s complaint under the constitutional ripeness standard yields the same answer for
the same reasons."