Lawsuit Filed to Protect Unique Wildlife and Historic Resources in the Nebraska Sand Hills

Yesterday, on behalf of the Oregon California Trails Association, Western Nebraska Resources Council, and two conservationists, we filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s issuance of a permit for construction and operation of a massive, modern transmission line in an iconic location of the Nebraska Sand Hills. Among other concerns, the Service refused to include the highly endangered Whooping Crane in the incidental take permit for the project despite external and internal expert analyses concluding that many Whooping Cranes would be killed and otherwise taken by this project. In addition, the Service failed to seriously consider alternative routing locations that would significantly reduce risks to Whooping Cranes and many other migratory birds, and which would also lessen the severe impacts to the Oregon-California National Historic Trail and the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. The Service also failed to analyze the indirect effects of hundreds of wind turbines that will be facilitated by this project (which will exacerbate impacts to Whooping Cranes, other birds, and historic resources) and which are foreseeable impacts resulting from the Service’s permit issuance. The Petition for Review raises claims under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Historic Preservation Act.

Photo copyright: Joel Trick.