CONTACT: Don Klusman
PHONE: (530) 671-4587
DATE: November 11, 2004
The CA4WDC legal team is currently reviewing a lawsuit filed on November 9, 2004, by the anti-access groups Center for Biological Diversity and the California Native Plant Society against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over its management of the popular off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation site known as the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA). The CCMA is located in the coastal mountain range near Coalinga, California. The annual CA4WDC Molina Ghost Run as well as many other four wheel drive events have long been held in this area.
The suit is based on allegations that the BLM has failed to adequately protect the San Benito Evening Primrose as outlined in the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Don Klusman, Natural Resource Constant for CA4WDC, said, "I am disappointed that anti-access groups have chosen to litigate rather than work with our local OHV groups and the BLM to protect both resource values and recreational opportunities at Clear Creek. The CA4WDC remains strongly committed to protecting responsible OHV recreation at the CCMA from attacks by anti-access groups."
More Information on the Clear Creek Management Area Lawsuit
The lawsuit filed states the following:
4. Direct by injunctive relief, pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2), that Defendants are precluded from allowing, authorizing, or permitting any ongoing use of the CCMA by ORVs unless and until the Defendants comply with their statutory obligations to re-initiate consultation with the FWS, and thereafter, pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1536(d), that Defendants are precluded from allowing, authorizing or permitting similar activities through the completion of the required consultation process to the extent that such activities are causing, or will cause, irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources that would have the effect of "foreclosing the formulation or implementation of any reasonable and prudent alternatives measures."
Translated, this means that the BLM has to get a biological opinion from the Fish and Wildlife Service concerning the harm that OHV activities may be doing to endangered species. We are unable to determine exactly how long it will take to get a biological opinion from the Fish and Wildlife Service on whether there are harmful effects from OHV use. Until that happens, the area would be closed to all OHV activities. If the Center for Biological Diversity's injunction is granted as it is now written, there will be no Molina Ghost Run or ANY other vehicular activity in the area, including any motorized access by hunters, fishermen, rock hounds or sightseers. As a reference to how long this opinion can take, the lawsuit that the Center for Biological Diversity filed to close Glamis was basically settled in 2001 and included a provision requiring a new biological opinion be issued. Today (November 2004), we are still waiting for this formal opinion to be issued.
The case involving the Clear Creek area was filed in the U.S. District Court, California Northern District (San Jose) as Civil Docket # 5:04-cv-04736-PVT on November 11, 2004. It lists as Plaintiffs the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit organization, and the California Native Plant Society, a non-profit organization. The Defendants are the Bureau of Land Management, and Mike Pool, State Director of the Bureau of Land Management for California. No date has been set for a hearing on this matter.
Donations for legal fees to fight this can be sent to:
CA4WDC Legal Fund (CCMA)
8120 36 th Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95824
A copy of the Clear Creek Complaint can be viewed at: http://www.cal4wheel.com