American Public Lands Equal Access Lawsuit
We’ve just seen another example of the unbridled power of the radical environmentalists in the extraordinary confiscation of 655,000 acres of lands massively trammeled by man to be designated as Wilderness. Any hopes that our supposedly conservative republican lawmakers would save us were quickly dashed when the Dingle Act was rushed through congress with record speed.
Only Mike Lee had the courage to oppose this naked land grab. One can only wonder what back room deals were made to support ripping these gorgeous lands from the people who use them most. You can be sure that many additional Wilderness land grabs are in the works.
In July of 1919 John Anderson and I filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Wilderness Designation discriminated against our most vulnerable people—the aged, the sick, the handicapped and anyone with mobility impairments. In addition, we alleged that the BLM violated the congressionally mandated mission of “Multiple Use” by managing the lands entrusted to it as wilderness or proto-wilderness, as well as discriminating against the previously mentioned classes of people.
The BLM’s corrupt vision demands that the public lands be solely the playground of the young, strong, healthy, and politically correct. They have gotten away with this for more than 40 years though collusion with the radical environmentalists against the majority of the American People.
The U.S. Attorney filed to dismiss The American Public Lands Equal Access lawsuit based on standing, claiming that we had no legal right to petition the courts for redress of harm suffered. Judge Ted Stewart agreed to dismiss our lawsuit on this basis, even though it was obvious in his opinion that he hadn’t even read it. At the same time, the federal courts accept countless and often meritless lawsuits from the radicals without question and never dispute their standing. Thus those who would use the courts to deny access to the public lands are embraced with open arms while the few who attempt to restore access are summarily dismissed.
Two months ago, after a substantial re-write, John and I again filed the APLEA lawsuit and again the U.S. attorney has filed a motion to dismiss based on standing. They really don’t want our lawsuit to see the light of day because they fear it.
Over the many years a number of access organizations have filed lawsuits to challenge land manager’s closure decision, which came with each new RMP and sometimes even more often (factory butte, for example). Very few of these succeeded and those that did only delayed the inevitable. Why? Because they were playing in the field dominated entirely by the radicals, their wealth, and political connections.
APLEA is totally different because it goes right to the top—where a victory has the potential to undo 40 years of discriminatory decisions by the land managers and the courts. They fear this greatly which explains their efforts to prevent us from having our day in court. The present filing has asked for oral arguments but this will be at the discretion of Judge Tena Campbell, no big friend of access rights.
Recent developments in the American Public Lands Equal Access Lawsuit.
John Anderson and I had a hearing before Judge Tena Campbell on July 27, 2021 on the government’s motion to dismiss due to lack of standing and sovereign immunity. I thought the judge appreciated our arguments and felt quite confident in a good outcome.
Her decision, rendered the very next day, was a mixed bag. The government had asked that causes of action 3-6 be dismissed, which the judge granted. I’m sure if they had asked for the entire lawsuit to be dismissed that would have been granted as well. So, for whatever reason, we are still in the game. I was quite disappointed but our attorney feels the outcome was good because it now allows us to proceed with the litigation. An important part of this is the discovery process where we can access BLM internal documents revealing the intrigues that played out in many of the closure actions, particularly the Endangered species closure of the Factory Butte Area in 2005.
This process will be long, complex, and expensive. We’re going to have to hire a paralegal to deal with all the paper work. It would be nice if any of you would be willing to contribute to make this happen.
John and I have already spent 20k on this effort and now we have a chance to make our case. You should know that this the ONLY hope in staving off massive closures in the future. Moab has recently closed 46 miles of roads, mostly providing spectacular view point in the canyon rims area. No efforts to fight these management level closures have succeeded in the long run. The environmentalists just have too much power and money. I reiterate: This action is the only hope for the future of motorized access to the public lands.
John is 81 and I’m 75. We don’t have too much left in us anymore. It’s going to be up to all you in motorsports land to see this through.
You can see the lawsuit at saveourpubliclands.net
Rainer Friedrich Huck
1680 East Atkin Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
Telephone: (801) 467-3795
629 Lake Street, #3
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
Telephone: (801) 688-3192
A. This action concerns the rampant elimination of public access to, and travel upon, the public lands of the United States. Plaintiffs maintain that all Americans, regardless of religion, age, race, health, strength, economic standing, and especially those who are elderly, handicapped or disabled, have Constitutional and other legal rights to access public lands held under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) on a basis equal to those who have the strength and ability to travel by muscle power, and to also access areas which have historically had public roadways or otherwise been accessible to persons with physical disabilities by mechanized means.
B. Tragically, most of the public’s most beautiful public lands are now off-limits to most Americans, particularly our most vulnerable – the aged, the disabled, the handicapped, and anyone else with mobility impairments — all because of actions of the elitist and selfish actions of “Earth-religionists” organizations, many of which are improperly operating as 501(c)(3) charitable or non-profit organizations. The overarching reasons asserted by those organizations for denying all of the American public access to these public lands is to “protect” them, which implies that the public lands have “personhood” entitled to such protection.
C. These Earth-religionist organizations have persuaded Congress and government agencies and their personnel to violate the United States Constitution and other federal statutes and regulations. In part, Congress has recently made wilderness designations upon land which fails to meet the requirements for such designations.
D. Much more troubling and impactful, however, has been the policy and actions of the BLM in administratively closing off vast areas of public land that had long been available for motorized access as though that land met statutory definitions for wilderness designations. 3 These areas do not qualify for wilderness designation, and the administrative actions have been taken in arbitrary and capricious manners and in conspiracy with environmental groups and “Earth-religionists” as will be more fully described herein.
E. The BLM, as well as other public land management agencies having been conducting a pogrom against motorized access to public lands by the American people. It is essentially creating two classes of citizens: Those who are welcomed and have unfettered access to public lands because they are able-bodied and ideologically aligned with the Earth religionists; and all others who are subjected to unrelenting regulation, taxation, threat of criminal fines and civil penalties from the government, and villainizing in the media. These roads and rights-of-way were exempted in order to maintain access to public lands by all Americans, not just the elite few, mostly white young and healthy. The government has created vast vehicle-free zones on public lands which discriminate racially and economically against many minority populations and enhance “white privilege.” People who love to access and explore public lands have been divided by the hateful rhetoric and litigation spawned by the “Earth religionists.” Government policies have been so arbitrary and capricious as to preclude “Eco-challenge” racers, e-bike riders, and others from accessing public land.
F. As one such example of an improper administrative action; on September 15, 2006, BLM Richfield District Manager Cornell Christensen closed nearly the entire Factory Butte recreation area to people on and in vehicles with “a stroke of his pen.” An entity called the “The Utah Shared Access Alliance” with substantial support of affected county, local and state representatives favored the creation of a Special Management Recreation Area that preserved 4 motorized access patterns to the area that had been in use for at least three generations. The area around Factory Butte has terrain that is uniquely suited to motorized recreation.
G. Mr. Christensen, however, thwarted the will of the people by invoking the Endangered Species Act purportedly with respect to the “Wrights Fish Hook Cactus” (sclerocactus wrightiae) and issued an “emergency” vehicle closure in a geographic area that almost perfectly mirrored the Motorized Recreation Management Plan developed by the Utah Shared Access Alliance and which had been incorporated into the Resource Advisory Council’s plan for the Factory Butte recreation area. Incredibly, none of the Wrights Fish Hook Cactus grew anywhere near Factory Butte. Further, the Factory Butte area is seldom visited by hikers or horseback riders.
H. Another example is found in the Moab, Utah area, where the BLM closed the roads to Bull Canyon and closed roads to and over Gemini Bridges from people in or on motorized vehicles approximately one-half mile from the base of Gemini Bridges from which the beauty of Bull Canyon is best observed. In addition, the BLM closed all of the primitive campsites along highway 313 that were used by people in vehicles and the closed all campgrounds that accommodated recreational vehicles in Kane Creek Canyon, Moon Flower Canyon, and along the Potash Road.
I. Another example can be found in the south end of the Henry Mountains in the Henry Mountains Resource Area when the BLM used heavy equipment and disturbed thousands of tons of soil to dig up a beautiful two-track jeep road that had led to an extraordinary and unique rock cropping.
J. One of the most recent examples of this elimination of access to public lands by mechanized means concerns roads within the San Rafael Swell area of Utah in tracts of land 5 which have now been designated as “wilderness.” That designation was made contrary to existing law and deprives the Plaintiffs and other aged, handicapped or disabled people access to public lands to which they formerly had access. There is no rational basis for the designation of certain areas as wilderness and eliminating mechanized access to them especially for the aged, handicapped and disabled. In fact, several of the areas designated as “wilderness” did not meet the statutory requirements for designation as a wilderness area because of the existence of roadways and pervasive historic mining activity within those areas. There is no justification for the BLM and other government agencies to ignore prior law recognizing the status of roadways, and instead eliminate those roadways upon public lands.
K. Congress has previously violated the Establishment Clause and other federal law by passing the Washington County Wilderness Act which closed mechanized access to land known as “Canaan Mountain” south of Zions National Park. This “wilderness” area did not qualify for such designation because it had been heavily logged to provide lumber for St. George, Utah and contained an historic sawmill. This area was accessed by mechanized travel via the Canaan Mountain Sawmill Road which the BLM administratively closed in the 1970s, but it was used and continued to be used by local residents. The Canaan Mountain Sawmill Road qualified as a RS 2477 road and should not have been closed to mechanized travel
L. The administrative designations by the BLM and the Wilderness designations made by Congress were made in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Those actions have been justified by acceptance, establishment, and support of various “Earth-religions” which hold beliefs in a “Gaia” or a “Mother Earth” and which falsely view land as having anthropomorphic features in need of protection, even where mechanized travel in general, but 6 especially for the handicapped or disabled, poses no threat to the land or the environment and poses dramatically less risk and harm than “Mother Nature” herself exerts upon the land. As an exemplar of the “Earth-religionist,” “Gaia,” or “Mother Earth” beliefs; on September 11, 2020, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said “Mother Earth is angry. She’s telling us, whether she’s telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, that the climate crisis is real and has an impact.”
M. As examples of the fanaticism of the Earth-religionists, Plaintiff Huck, in his many travels on the public lands, has suffered verbal abuse and threats of physical violence, and he has encountered dangerous “booby-traps” placed on the public lands by the devout Earth-religionists who have been emboldened to do so by the incendiary language and hate speech directed by Earth-religionists toward people who use motor vehicles on public lands and who are seen as defacing or injuring their Goddess Gaia. These incidents have been deeply troubling and emotionally stressful to Plaintiff Huck.
N. Further, the BLM has long treated motor-assisted travelers including the aged, disabled and handicapped, as second-class citizens who are allowed access to public lands and facilities only at the pleasure of the Earth-religionists. This discrimination parallels, in many ways, the treatment afforded our African-American citizens to public facilities until the enactment of the Civil Rights Act.
O. Many of the decisions to bar citizens, including Plaintiffs, from areas under the jurisdiction of the BLM have resulted from arbitrary and capricious actions taken by the BLM based upon purported reasons that were contrived and/or pretextual. 7
P. Accordingly, in this action, Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief that the recent wilderness designations in the San Rafael Swell area are unconstitutional, illegal, and void to the extent they purport to bar mechanized access to historical roadways and access to the areas they serve. Plaintiffs also seek immediate temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief precluding the BLM from enforcing any statutes, regulations or penalties against mechanized travel within those areas thereby allowing Plaintiffs, their entourages, and other disabled or handicapped persons mechanized access to the roadways and areas under the jurisdiction of the BLM to which Plaintiffs have historically had access. In other words, Plaintiffs, who require motorized access because of their ages and disabilities, seek to be guaranteed the same rights to access public lands as are hikers, horsemen, and bicyclists.
Q. In this action, Plaintiffs also seek declaratory relief that the BLM’s actions in terminating access to non-wilderness areas under its jurisdiction and upon which RS 2477 roadways had existed are unconstitutional, illegal, and void to the extent they purport to bar mechanized access to historical roadways and access to the areas they serve. Plaintiffs also seek immediate temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief precluding the BLM from enforcing any statutes, regulations or penalties against mechanized travel within those areas thereby allowing Plaintiffs, their entourages, and other disabled or handicapped persons mechanized access to the roadways and areas under the jurisdiction of the BLM.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTIES
1. Plaintiff, Rainer F. Huck, (“Huck”), is a United States citizen and resident of the State of Utah. Huck is over 74-years old and has physical disabilities that prevent his access to public lands under the jurisdiction of the BLM. More particularly, Huck suffers from severe pulmonary 8 disease which prevent him from walking or hiking even short distances. Huck has been an avid off-road motorcyclist for over 50 years. He has been prevented and deprived from being able to visit scenic and recreational areas that he has previously been allowed to visit and enjoy access by historical roadways, trails and areas.
2. During the Summer of 2020, Huck intended to go on off-road motorcycle trips as he has for over 50 years, and it is his intent in the Spring of 2021 to immediately go on off-road motorcycle trips to areas within Utah which the BLM presently bars vehicular travel and/or which have been designated as wilderness areas. Those areas include Seger’s Hole, Chute Canyon, Pastures Road, Muddy River Road, Earnie’s Canyon, Old Woman Wash, Mexican Mountain Road, June’s Bottom Road, Copper Mine Road (north of Temple Wash), Saddle Horse Canyon, Salt Wash, San Rafael River Road, Iron Wash, the road through the “Blocks,” Seger’s Hole, Mexican Mountain Road, the road to the historic Swasey’s Leap, and June’s Bottom Road. Huck declined to go on those trips because of fear of prosecution. In addition, the BLM installed a steel fence across the road to Scott’s Basin in Deep Creek Mountains to keep people in or on vehicles out.
3. Plaintiff, John Anderson (“Anderson”), is a United States citizen and resident of the State of Utah. Anderson is over 80-years old and also has physical disabilities that prevent his access to public lands under the jurisdiction of the BLM. More particularly, Anderson has heart disease and skeletal degeneration. Anderson has been and is an avid all-terrain vehicle rider and is now prevented and deprived of the opportunity to visit scenic and recreational areas that he has previously been allowed to visit and enjoy.
4. In the Summer of 2020, Anderson had intended to go on all-terrain vehicle off-road trips utilizing one or more of the closed roads described in paragraph 2 above. It is his intent to immediately go on all-terrain vehicle off-road trips to areas which the BLM presently bars vehicular travel and/or which have been designated as wilderness areas in the Spring of 2021. Anderson declined to go on those trips last Summer because of fear of prosecution. Given Anderson’s age and health-conditions, unless immediate injunctive relief as prayed for herein is granted, he will be denied the ability to visit the public lands described herein before he dies.
5. Huck and Anderson are hereinafter referred to collectively as “Plaintiffs.”
6. Defendant United States of America (“United States”) is the sovereign trustee of national natural resources not otherwise owned by private citizens and the states. In its sovereign capacity, the United States controls federal public lands, waters and other natural resources. The United States implements laws passed by Congress and institutes regulations adopted by its agencies.
7. Defendant the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) is an agency within the Department of the Interior. Defendant William Perry Pendley, in his official capacity as is a Deputy Director, Policy and Programs, and Michael D. Nedd, in his official capacity as its Deputy Director, Operations are singularly or collectively exercising authority of the Director of the BLM. The BLM is tasked with management of public lands and the administration and enforcement of the laws challenged herein. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
8. Jurisdiction is proper in this Court pursuant to Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution granting judicial power for all cases in law and equity arising under the 10 Constitution, and the laws of the United States. Jurisdiction also is provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because this lawsuit concerns the constitutionality of regulations and rules promulgated by the Defendants; and the constitutionality of the Dingell Act (as defined below). The Court also has jurisdiction to compel the BLM and its director to perform their duties pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1361.
9. Plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief are authorized by 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, by 5 U.S.C. §§ 702, 703, and 705; by Rules 57 and 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and by the general legal and equitable powers of the Court.
10. The Plaintiffs are of advanced age and suffering from significant health issues. They have limited time in which to carry out their intent and desire to presently visit the BLM-controlled lands described herein using RS 2477 roads and roadways. They have been placed at risk of fines and imprisonment by the “wilderness” designations described herein and the BLM’s actual and threatened actions against users of mechanized vehicles traveling upon geographic areas and roadways in which the BLM has attempted to deny mechanized travel.
11. This case presents an actual case and controversy; the interests of the Plaintiffs are adverse to those of the United States as to the laws that are the subject of this lawsuit and the BLM, and the Court can provide a remedy by declaring and ordering that the subject wilderness designations are unconstitutional and by declaring and ordering that the BLM allow the public access to and through RS 2477 roads and roadways and not enforce any prohibitions against the public for doing so.
12. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because the Defendants exercise jurisdiction over lands in this district, Plaintiffs reside in this District, a “substantial 11 part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred” in this district, and the land and rights at issue are involved here. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
13. Anxious to encourage the settlement of the western regions, Congress made huge land grants of the public lands to the railroad companies as well as to corporations and private citizens in the form of homesteads and mining claims. Later, public lands could be purchased, and Congress granted an unrestricted and self-actuating right of the creation and construction of roads to anyone wishing to do so.
14. The vast majority of roads over western public lands were created under the provisions of RS 2477 which allowed the mineral industry, ranchers, and others to build roads on public lands. RS 2477 was superseded in 1976 with the passage of the comprehensive Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) which, although revoking RS 2477, grandfathered the validity of all such roadways existing at the time. Few, if any roads have ever been built on public lands by the BLM.
15. In spite of the plain and straightforward language of FLPMA in regard to RS 2477 and the continued validity of rights-of-way and roadways built under its provisions, much litigation has been spawned amidst an array of often contradictory policies. Many of those contradictory policies have been inspired and driven by the Earth-religionists, sympathizers and co-conspirators whose ultimate goal is the designation of nearly all scenic public lands as “wilderness.”
16. Pursuant to 43 U.S.C. § 1732(a), the public lands are to be managed “under principles of multiple use and sustained yield, in accordance with the land use plans developed … under 12 section 1712 of [Title 43] when they are available, except that where a tract of public land has been dedicated to specific uses according to other provisions of law it shall be managed in accordance with such law.” If 43 U.S.C. § 1732(a) was adhered to by the governing federal agencies, the Earth-religionists’ goals would be thwarted.
17. 43 U.S.C. § 1712 provides in relevant part: (a) Development, maintenance, and revision by Secretary The Secretary shall, with public involvement and consistent with the terms and conditions of this Act, develop, maintain, and when appropriate, revise land use plans which provide by tracts or areas for the use of the public lands…. (c) Criteria for development and revision In the development and revision of land use plans, the Secretary shall – (1) use and observe the principles of multiple use and sustained yield set forth in this and other applicable law; (2) use a systematic interdisciplinary approach to achieve integrated consideration of physical, biological, economic, and other sciences; (3) give priority to the designation and protection of areas of critical environmental concern; … (5) consider present and potential uses of the public lands; … [and] (7) weigh long-term benefits to the public against short-term benefits….
18. Contrary to the foregoing statute, the BLM and other government agencies tasked with management of federal public lands, have developed land use plans that are inconsistent with the terms and condition of the Act and have inappropriately revised land use plans. The BLM and other government agencies have ignored the obligation to provide for multiple uses of public lands under their jurisdiction. The BLM and other governmental agencies have not utilized systematic interdisciplinary approaches or used integrated considerations. The BLM and other government agencies have given priority to designation and protection of areas that are not of critical environmental concern. The BLM and other governmental agencies have not 13 considered present and potential uses of public lands, especially for the aged, disabled and handicapped.
19. Under the guise of the Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964, the BLM and other governmental departments and agencies, in concert with environmentalists and members of various Earth-religions, have increasingly claimed the public lands for their own benefit and uses, culminating in the present day where they have gained near total dominion of these lands and the managing agencies. For over 40 years, the BLM and other government agencies exercising management authority over federal public lands have been administratively closing roadways, trails, and accesses to public lands under their “Resource Management Plans” (RMPs). A relatively recent example of this collusion and conspiracy was the prohibition of motorized access to the Factory Butte recreation area described in paragraphs “C” through “F” in the opening paragraphs of this Complaint.
20. In violation of its current charter, the BLM (as well as other land management departments and agencies) has developed land use plans that are biased and discriminatory against aged, handicapped and disabled citizens of the United States who are now deprived of their ability to visit scenic and recreational areas to which they formerly had access.
21. In violation of its current charter, the BLM in its land use plans have identified potential wilderness areas which did not qualify for such designation under the FLPMA, and Congress has accepted the recommendations of the BLM and other government agencies and has designated land tracts as wilderness areas which fail to meet to the statutory definition of “wilderness” and are not of “critical environmental concern.” 14
22. 43 U.S.C. §1782(a) provided that the Interior Secretary was to have created an inventory of wilderness study areas. Wilderness areas were defined as “roadless areas of 5,000 acres or more” that possess “wilderness characteristics” defined in the Wilderness Act ….” Thus, under the current statutes, only land areas of at least 5,000 acres and that are roadless should have been eligible for designation as wilderness areas.
23. In violation of its current charter, the BLM (as well as Congress and other land management departments and agencies) have ignored the historic roadways that should have barred large tracts of land from being designated as wilderness areas.
24. The effort to designate more and more public lands as wilderness areas and/or to treat them as wilderness areas has been ongoing and systematic for decades. In conspiracy with environmentalists and Earth religionists, the BLM unlawfully prohibited access to roads that had been constructed under RS 2477 thus causing them to become unused and then allegedly justifying land tracts to be designated as “wilderness.” Even before such designations, the BLM began barring access to many lands, roads, trails and campsites that had historically been available to the aged, handicapped, and disabled via mechanized travel despite the fact that use of mechanized means caused no “damage” or “injury” to the land.
25. The BLM (as well as other departments and agencies) in concert and conspiracy with Earth-religionists have thus systematically, with malice at worst and indifference at best, acted to deprive the aged, disabled, or handicapped, such as Plaintiffs, as well as the vast majority of public land users who chose or require the use of motor vehicles to access and travel on the public lands, from being able to access and travel upon many of the public lands.
26. Further, the actions of the BLM in ignoring its charter have extended discriminatory consideration and incentive to muscle powered users, which represent a minority of real and potential users, creating an elite class with special and superior rights while blatantly discriminating against others, particularly the aged, disabled and handicapped. In effect, the BLM’s policies have created a modern-day version of “the King’s forest” where only the chosen elite are permitted entry and the common man is barred.
27. These acts of discrimination have been justified by unconstitutional “Earth-religion” based arguments involving the “protection” or “preservation” of the land. These terms are placed in quotations because they are anthropocentric and completely devoid of any rational meaning as applied to nearly all tracts of BLM-controlled land (and wilderness in particular), which can neither be damaged or destroyed by any human action.
28. Our public lands are increasingly being set aside for adherents of the Earth-religions and closed to those persons who desire or require the use of motor vehicles to travel on and access choice places on these lands. So striking has this trend been, that access for the aged, handicapped and disabled to public lands has diminished from more than 95% of BLM-controlled land in 1976 to less than 5% currently. Compare this to access provided to muscle powered users which began at 100% and is still at 100% today. (These figures do not apply to military reservations or Indian Tribal Lands.)
29. On March 12, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019, P.L. 116-9 (“Dingell Act”). Among other things, Part II of the Dingell Act entitled “Emery County Public Land Management,” took the following actions impacting land within Emery County, State of Utah: 16 a. Established the John Wesley Powell National Conservation Area consisting of nearly 30,000 acres. b. Established the San Rafael Swell Western Heritage and Historic Mining Recreation Area consisting of nearly 217,000 acres. c. Added over a collective 660,000 acres of wilderness-designated lands through individual wilderness areas identified as the Big Wild Horse Mesa Wilderness, the Cold Wash Wilderness, the Desolation Canyon Wilderness, the Devil’s Canyon Wilderness, the Eagle Canyon Wilderness, the Horse Valley Wilderness, the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness, the Little Ocean Draw Wilderness, the Little Wild Horse Canyon Wilderness, the Lower Last Chance Wilderness, the Mexican Mountain Wilderness, the Middle Wild Horse Mesa Wilderness, the Muddy Creek Wilderness, the Nelson Mountain Wilderness, the Red’s Canyon Wilderness, the Rhino Head Wilderness not in initial list, the San Rafael Reef Wilderness, the Sid’s Mountain Wilderness, and the Turtle Canyon Wilderness. These designations are hereinafter referred to as the “New Wilderness Areas.” d. Added the Green River to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
30. Pursuant to Section 1231(a) of the Dingell Act the San Rafael Swell Western Heritage and Historic Mining Recreation Area (“San Rafael Recreational Area” or “Recreation Area”) was designated specifically “[s]ubject to valid existing rights.” Those valid existing rights should have included roadway and trail designations that existed as of 1976 under the FLMPA.
31. Pursuant to Section 1231(b) of the Dingell Act, the San Rafael Recreational Area was established for “to provide for the protection, conservation, and enhancement of the 17 recreational, cultural, natural, scenic, wildlife, ecological, historical, and educational resources of the Recreation Area.”
32. Section 1232(d) of the Dingell Act will allow for use of motorized vehicles in the Recreation Area on the roads and motorized routes to be designated and maintained in the Management Plan, but with no new roads. There is no apparent obligation in the Dingell Act for the BLM to maintain the RS 2477 historical roadways within the New Wilderness Areas. That also is in violation of the FLMPA.
33. Section 1231(a) of the Dingell Act specifically provides that “the following land in the State [Utah] is designated as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System: [each of the New Wilderness Areas was then listed].”
34. Section 1232(a) of the Dingell Act provided that: “Subject to valid existing rights, the [New Wilderness Areas] shall be administered by the Secretary in accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et. seq.) ….”
35. 16 U.S.C. § 1133 of the Wilderness Act provides in relevant part that: “(b) …. Except as specifically provided for in this chapter, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be … no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment … no other form of mechanical support ….”
36. The designation of the New Wilderness Areas as “wilderness” therefore presently bars the use of motor vehicles and motorized equipment, including off-road motorcycles and ATVs.
37. Certain of the New Wilderness Areas contains RS 2477 roads and roadways that had been used by the public prior to 1976. Accordingly, those roads and roadways constituted a rights-of-way or land uses that were to continue to be recognized with the passage of the FLPMA.
38. In violation of the FLPMA and the Dingell Act, Congress and the BLM have designated their intent to close roadways that had been used for mechanized travel in at least the following New Wilderness Areas: a. Horse Valley Wilderness; b. Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness; c. Little Ocean Draw Wilderness’ d. Lower Last Chance Wilderness; e. Middle Wild Horse Mesa Wilderness; and f. Muddy Creek Wilderness.
39. As a result of the designation of the New Wilderness Areas, Plaintiffs have been or will be denied the ability to use the public roadways created by RS 2477 in order to access sites, scenery, and recreational opportunities because their age, disabilities and/or handicaps prevent them from being able to do so in the absence of mechanized means of transportation.
40. Pursuant to the Dingell Act, it is the BLM which has responsibility to enforce prohibitions against mechanized travel within the New Wilderness Areas. In a Declaration dated January 17, 2020; Mr. Chris Conrad, Field Manager of BLM’s Price Field Office has stated under penalty of perjury that “BLM now manages any routes not expressly left open by Congress as closed but has not issued any citations or otherwise enforced any of the new closures.”
41. The actions of the BLM in prior closings of public land under its jurisdiction to motor vehicles and mechanized travel and its signaled intent to close the RS 2477 roadways in other BLM-governed areas have been and continue to be arbitrary and capricious based upon 19 contrived and/or pretextual grounds. Among other things, there is no consistency in thought or reason in the BLM’s actions. For examples, a. Substantial funds and rights to access have been provided in facilities for mountain bikes in the Moab, Utah area; any damage from which would exceed any damage caused by mechanized travel by the aged, disabled or handicapped. b. Campsites used by mechanized traveler have been closed allegedly out of concern for contamination of waterways from human wastes, but most mechanized travelers have equipment to contain human wastes. In contrast, campsites have been opened up for mountain bikers and hikers who generally lack such equipment. c. The BLM has denied access to some RS 2477 roads by digging up sections of road with heavy equipment, making the roads impassable to mechanized travel, and impacting the land from the digging and earth gouging that far exceeds any alleged damage that had or could have resulted from mechanized travel. d. The San Rafael Swell area was not “pristine” and “untrammeled,” but was instead mined extensively in the 1950s and 1960s, with many RS 2477 roads built in connection with the mining activities throughout that area. Nevertheless, in violation of its charter, the BLM has been closing the mines and eliminating the roads. None of these areas are of “critical environmental concern.” e. As alleged above; essentially the BLM, in conspiracy with Earth-religionists have created the equivalent of “the King’s forest” where choice land is set apart from the “rabble” and the masses and left only to the rulers, the elite, or the privileged and 20 their cronies. Rather than being grounds for execution as in days of yore, however, the government now threatens violators with extensive fines and imprisonment.
42. Many closure designations of wilderness study areas and in land management plans for public lands have been the result of “settlements” of collusive lawsuits between various “environmental religion” groups and the government agencies. As part of the settlement agreements, commissions or committees are established to determine the uses of public land, but the aged, disabled and handicapped are denied due process and have no ability to influence the decisions of the various commissions or committees to provide mechanized access to scenic areas for the handicapped and disabled. While purporting to preserve wilderness areas for all Americans, the wilderness designations effectively only allow access by the able-bodied.
43. Plaintiffs have a present intent and desire to use their motorized vehicles to travel over RS 2477 roadways which have been closed off by the BLM in the New Wilderness Areas and other areas described in this Complaint. They have not acted upon their present intent and desire to do so because of legitimate fear of fines and/or imprisonment.
44. The Plaintiffs’ fear of fines and imprisonment should they go upon RS 2477 roads in the New Wilderness Areas is well-founded based upon actions by the BLM. More particularly, a. In 2014, a San Juan County Commissioner, Phillip Lyman was found guilty of conspiring to operate off-road vehicles on public lands closed to off-road vehicles. Mr. Lyman was sentenced to ten days in jail, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay restitution of nearly $100,000 in Case No. 2:14-cr-00470-DN-1 in this district court. b. In 1978, the BLM closed an RS 2477 roadway in Happy Canyon located in Wayne and Garfield Counties in Utah. 21 c. 43 CFR § 6302.20 provides in relevant part that: “Except as specifically provided in the Wilderness Act, the individual statutes designating the particular BLM wilderness area, or the regulations of this part, and subject to existing rights, in BLM wilderness areas you must not: … (d) Use motorized equipment; or motor vehicles … or other forms of mechanical transport.” d. 43 CFR 6302.30 provides in relevant part: “(a) If you commit a prohibited act listed in § 6302.20 in a BLM wilderness area, you are subject to criminal prosecution on each offense. If convicted, you may be fined not more than $100,000 under 18 U.S.C. 3571. In addition, you may be imprisoned for not more than 12 months, as provided for by 43 U.S.C. 1733(a).
45. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “religion” as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices” and “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy generally defines a “religion” as involving “a communal, transmittable body of teachings and prescribed practices about an ultimate, sacred reality or state of being that calls for reverence or awe, a body which guides its practitioners into what it describes as a saving, illuminating or emancipatory relationship to this reality through a personally transformative life of prayer, ritualized meditation, and/or moral practices like repentance and personal regeneration.”
46. By any such definitions, the Defendants and their co-conspirators support Earth-religion tenets. They have religious attitudes, beliefs and practices that attempt to “preserve” and protect “Gaia” or “Mother Earth” from even reasonable uses, believing that roads scar and that mines pierce and harm “Her.” They view the Earth as being sacred and an object to be revered 22 and held in awe. They seek to “commune” with Her and engage in “moral practices” which essentially view mankind as a contaminant and a curse upon Her.
47. The BLM has violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in that it has assisted the establishment of these Earth-religions. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION (Declaratory Judgment that the Dingell Act’s Designation of Certain Areas of Wilderness in Emery County and the Planned Closure of Roads Violates the First Amendment.)
48. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 47 above.
49. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides in relevant part that: “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion….”
50. Congress has violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by passing the Dingell Act and other laws which violate the FLPMA and ignore the definition of “wilderness” as set forth in those statutes.
51. Congress has previously violated the Establishment Clause by passing the Washington County Wilderness Act which closed mechanized access to land known as “Canaan Mountain” south of Zions National Park. This “wilderness” area did not qualify for such designation because it had been heavily logged to provide lumber for St. George, Utah and contained an historic sawmill. This area was accessed by mechanized travel via the Canaan Mountain Sawmill Road which the BLM administratively closed in the 1970s, but which was used and continued to be used by local residents. The Canaan Mountain Sawmill Road qualified as a RS 2477 road and should not have been closed to mechanized travel.
52. The designation of additional “wilderness” areas has been done to support and establish the Earth-religions and their tenets regarding the “sacredness” of public lands.
53. The BLM has violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by closing lands to mechanized access to many lands within recreation areas or under RMPs in support of Earth-religions and their tenets regarding the “sacredness” of public lands.
54. As a result of the establishment of these Earth-religions by the Defendants, Plaintiffs have suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable injury, including but not limited to being denied access to the wilderness and other areas described in this Compliant. More particularly, given their ages, disabilities and handicaps, Plaintiffs will be denied the ability to view, enjoy and recreate upon the newly-designated Wilderness Areas and upon lands which have been closed off from mechanized access by the BLM in violation of its statutory charter and in violation of the FLMPA which grandfathered existing RS 2477 roads.
55. Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaration that the Dingell Act violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Plaintiffs are entitled to immediate and permanent injunctive relief against Defendants closing the roadways in the New Wilderness Areas or otherwise implementing the Dingell Act because its planned closure of roadways is unlawful and unconstitutional. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION (Declaratory Judgment that the Dingell Act’s Designation of Certain Areas of Wilderness in Emery County and the Planned Closure of Roads Violates the Due Process Clause of the Constitution and Denies Equal Protection to the Aged, Handicapped and Disabled)
56. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 55 above.
57. The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides in relevant part: “nor shall any person … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. V.
58. The Fifth Amendment contains an “implicit” “equal protection principle” binding the federal government. Sessions v. Morales-Santana, ____ U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. 1678, 1686 (2017).
59. Legislation that imposes irrational requirements or that makes irrational distinctions violates the Due Process Clause.
60. The Defendants have violated the Due Process Clause by denying the Plaintiffs, who are aged, handicapped and disabled, equal protection and reasonable access to scenic and recreational areas enjoyed by the able-bodied.
61. The Defendants have violated the Due Process Clause by denying the Plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals any real input or ability to protect their interests in the decision-making process regarding the designation of wilderness areas. More particularly, much is said as to how all stake holders and interested parties were given the opportunity to participate in the process leading to the development of the SRRA Wilderness legislation. That was false. Plaintiff Anderson attended nearly every meeting of the Emery County Public Lands Council. For this commitment he was ridiculed, insulted, humiliated and marginalized in an attempt to silence his voice. Every other advocate for motorized access to these public lands upon SR 2477 roads and rights of way were similarly treated and left in disgust. Plaintiff Anderson stayed. Despite his age and disability, he traveled the 300-mile round trip hundreds of times in a vain attempt to bring balance to the proceedings. The fix was in, however, and the outcome pre-ordained.
62. The Defendants have violated the Due Process Clause by designating as wilderness areas large tracts of land in the New Wilderness Areas which are not of “critical environmental concern.”
63. Because of the Defendants’ actions, Plaintiffs have suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable injury.
64. Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaration that the Dingell Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Plaintiffs are entitled to immediate and permanent injunctive relief preventing Defendants from closing the roadways in the New Wilderness Areas or otherwise implementing the Dingell Act because its planned closure of roadways is unlawful and unconstitutional. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION (Declaratory Judgment Under 5 U.S.C. § 706 that Any Rules and Regulations Promulgated Pursuant to the Dingell Act to Enforce Closure of Roadways in the New Wilderness Areas Are Unlawful)
65. Plaintiffs incorporate the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 64 above.
66. The Administrative Procedures Act requires the Court to hold unlawful and set aside any agency action that is, among other things, (a) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law; (b) contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity, and (c) in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right. 5 U.S.C. § 706(2).
67. The BLM is an “agency” under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(1), and the regulations and rules promulgated or that will be promulgated under the Dingell Act are “rules” under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(4).
68. Because the Dingell Act violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution for the reasons stated in prior paragraphs, all regulations promulgated or that are to be promulgated closing roadways within the New Wilderness Areas or that are implemented to enforce the closure of such roadways, are arbitrary and capricious, contrary to law, and in excess of agency authority.
69. Because of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiffs have suffered, continue to suffer, and will suffer irreparable injury.
70. Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaration that regulations that are or may be promulgated pursuant to, implementing, or enforcing closure of roadways or otherwise denying access to trails and areas in the New Wilderness Areas violates the Administrative Procedures Act. Plaintiffs are also entitled to a permanent injunction preventing Defendants from implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing any roadway closure in the New Wilderness areas. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION (Declaratory Judgment Under 5 U.S.C. § 706 that Any Rules and Regulations Promulgated Pursuant to the Dingell Act to Close Roadways in the New Wilderness Areas Are Unlawful)
71. Plaintiffs incorporate the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 70 above.
72. The Administrative Procedures Act requires the Court to hold unlawful and set aside any agency action that is, among other things, (a) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law; (b) contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity, and (c) in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, or short of statutory right. 5 U.S.C. § 706(2).
73. The BLM is an “agency” under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(1), and the regulations and rules promulgated or that will be promulgated under the Dingell Act are “rules” under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(4).
74. The planned for roadway closures in the New Wilderness Areas were based upon “bad science” and contrary to law and are arbitrary and capricious. The areas designated as “wilderness” are not the subject of “critical” environmental concerns. The lands are made up of shale, sandstone, sand, and limestone that have been built up by natural forces and massively eroded over time to create valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes. No material damage can be done to these rocks by users of mechanized vehicles to gain access to scenic and recreational sites that are now to be closed to mechanized vehicles, especially mechanized vehicles driven by the aged, handicapped and disabled.
75. Because of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiffs have suffered, and continue to suffer, irreparable injury.
76. Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaration that regulations that are or may be promulgated pursuant to, implementing, or enforcing closure of roadways in the New Wilderness Areas violates the Administrative Procedures Act. Plaintiffs are also entitled to a permanent injunction against Defendants from implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing any roadway closure in the New Wilderness areas. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION (Injunctive Relief Against Federal Officials from Implementing, Regulating, or Otherwise Closing Roadways, Trails and Area Access in the New Wilderness Areas, in Other Recreation Areas Under BLM Jurisdiction, and Requiring Them to Reopen Roadways, Trails, and Area Access to Mechanized Travel that at the Time of Closure Contained RS 2477 Roadways, Trails, and Area Access)
77. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 76 above.
78. Plaintiffs are entitled to temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief preventing Defendants from implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing any part of past RS 2477 roadway closures in other Wilderness Areas or Recreation Areas under BLM jurisdiction because to do so would be unlawful and in violation of the Constitution and the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to equal access to scenic and recreational areas in the Wilderness and Recreation Areas as the able-bodied.
79. Plaintiffs are entitled to permanent injunctive relief requiring Defendants to re-open those public lands under BLM-jurisdiction which should not have been closed because such actions were contrary to the BLM’s charter, the FLMPA, other federal law referenced herein, and/or contained RS 2477 roadways, specifically including the Canann Mountain Sawmill Road and the land around Factory Butte.
80. Without injunctive relief, the Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury or harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.
81. The balance of hardships in allowing the Plaintiffs access to the RS 2477 roadways in the New Wilderness Areas and other BLM-administered lands favors Plaintiffs over the Defendants.
82. The issuance of the injunction will serve the public interest.
83. Plaintiffs are also entitled to temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and/or a permanent injunction preventing Defendants from implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing any roadway closure in the New Wilderness areas or lands under current RMPs against the Plaintiffs and other disabled and handicapped individuals. SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION 29 (Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Against Federal Officials from Regulating or Otherwise Closing Roadways, Trails and Area Access in Other Recreation Areas Under BLM Jurisdiction, and Requiring Them to Reopen Roadways, Trails, and Area Access to Mechanized Travel that at the Time of Closure Contained RS 2477 Roadways, Trails, and Area Access)
84. Plaintiffs incorporate by reference the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 82 above.
85. The BLM has closed off RS 2477 roadways and trails and area access to areas which do not qualify as wilderness areas.
86. The actions of the BLM in doing so have been arbitrary and capricious.
87. The Court should enter a declaratory judgment and enter injunctive relief barring the BLM from regulating or otherwise closing any roadways, trails and access to areas outside of the New Wilderness Areas and outside the San Rafael Recreational Area that had RS 2477 roadways and trails.
88. The BLM should further be ordered to announce the re-opening of such RS 2477 roadways and trails and to remove any obstacles or restore any land necessary to allow such access to mechanized use.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
Based upon the foregoing, the Plaintiffs Rainer Huck and John Anderson, respectfully petition the Court to:
A. Declare the Dingell Act’s closure of RS 2477 roads and rights of way in response to the demands of the Gaia worshippers and Earth-religionists to be a violation of the Establishment Clause.
B. Declare the Dingell Act’s provisions establishing New Wilderness Areas where historic roadways had been established to be unconstitutional in whole or in part.
C. Declare unlawful any and all rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to, implementing, regulating, or otherwise enforcing any roadway closures, trail closures, and area access restrictions in the New Wilderness Areas with respect to RS 2477 roads and roadways.
D. Enjoin temporarily, preliminarily and permanently, Defendants and their employees, agents, successors, or any person acting in concert with them, from implementing, regulating, enforcing or otherwise acting under the authority of the Dingell Act from closing any RS 2477 roadways, trails and area accesses in the New Wilderness Areas to the aged, handicapped and disabled.
E. Enjoin during the pendency of this case, any enforcement action against Plaintiffs and their entourages when on any lands, roadways and trails that were open to the public in 1976 as of the passage of the FLMPA.
F. Order the restoration of all motorized access to BLM managed public lands that had roadways or areas in use as of 1976 and subsequent to 1976.
G. Order the restoration of all motorized access to RS 2477 roadways upon BLM-managed public lands that were closed to mechanized travel due to arbitrary and capricious agency action based upon contrived or pretextual grounds, and/or as a result of collusive and conspiratorial actions with Earth-religionists groups.
H. Order the establishment of access upon RS 2477 roads and roadways for motor vehicle travel in the New Wilderness Areas and other BLM-managed lands by aged, handicapped and disabled equal to that provided to muscle-powered travel.
I. Order the restoration of all previously used motorized access RS 2477 roads to the aged, disabled and handicapped on public lands.
J. Order the Defendants to implement access opportunities to handicapped and disabled people on non-muscle powered vehicles equal to that granted to people who travel by muscle power.
K. In the event that Plaintiffs obtain counsel, to award Plaintiffs their reasonable costs, including attorneys’ fees.
L. Grant Plaintiffs such other and further relief to which they are justly entitled at law and in equity.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED this ____ day of December, 2020.