Federal Judge Denies Obama Administration's Motion to Vacate the Stream Buffer Zone Rule

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The Obama Administration's efforts to rescind the revised Stream Buffer Zone Rule, enacted at the end of the Bush era, suffered a setback earlier this month. On August 12, 2009, United States District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, Jr. issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying the government's motion to vacate the Stream Buffer Zone Rule. Judge Kennedy presides over the lawsuit brought by the National Parks Conservation Association ("NPCA") contesting the validity of the revised rule. In the opinion, Judge Kennedy concluded that granting the relief requested by the Administration would permit it to do what the government cannot do under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551et seq. ("APA"), "repeal a rule without public notice and comment, without judicial consideration of the merits." National Parks Conservation Association v. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, et al., United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 09-00115 (HHK).

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