Respondents are a group of organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. (We will refer to them collectively


Respondents are a group of organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. (We will refer to them collectively as ‘‘Earth Island.’’) They seek to prevent the United States Forest Service from enforcing regulations that exempt small fire-rehabilitation and timber-salvage projects from the notice, comment, and appeal process used by the Forest Service for more significant land management decisions. We must determine whether respondents have standing to challenge the regulations in the absence of a live dispute over a concrete application of those regulations.


   In 1992, Congress enacted the Forest Service Decision-making and Appeals Reform Act (Appeals Reform Act or Act), [citation]. Among other things, this required the Forest Service to establish a notice, comment, and appeal process for ‘‘proposed actions of the Forest Service concerning projects and activities implementing land and resource management plans developed under the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974.’’ [Citation.]

   The Forest Service’s regulations implementing the Act provided that certain of its procedures would not be applied to projects that the Service considered categorically excluded from the requirement to file an environmental impact statement (EIS) or environmental assessment (EA). [Citation.] Later amendments to the Forest Service’s manual of implementing procedures, adopted by rule after notice and comment, provided that fire-rehabilitation activities on areas of less than 4,200 acres, and salvage-timber sales of 250 acres or less, did not cause a significant environmental impact and thus would be categorically exempt from the requirement to file an EIS or EA. [Citation.] This had the effect of excluding these projects from the notice, comment, and appeal process.

   In the summer of 2002, fire burned a significant area of the Sequoia National Forest. In September 2003, the Service issued a decision memo approving the Burnt Ridge Project, a salvage sale of timber on 238 acres damaged by that fire. Pursuant to its categorical exclusion of salvage sales of less than 250 acres, the Forest Service did not provide notice in a form consistent with the Appeals Reform Act, did not provide a period of public comment, and did not make an appeal process available.

   In December 2003, respondents filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California, challenging the failure of the Forest Service to apply to the Burnt Ridge Project § 215.4(a) of its regulations implementing the Appeals Reform Act (requiring prior notice and comment), and § 215.12(f ) of the regulations (setting forth an appeal procedure). * * *

   The District Court granted a preliminary injunction against the Burnt Ridge salvage-timber sale. Soon thereafter, the parties settled their dispute over the Burnt Ridge Project and the District Court concluded that ‘‘the Burnt Ridge timber sale is not at issue in this case.’’ [Citation.] The Government argued that, with the Burnt Ridge dispute settled, and with no other project before the court in which respondents were threatened with injury in fact, respondents lacked standing to challenge the regulations; and that absent a concrete dispute over a particular project a challenge to the regulations would not be ripe. The District Court proceeded, however, to adjudicate the merits of Earth Island’s challenges. It invalidated five of the regulations (including §§ 215.4(a) and 215.12(f )), [citation], and entered a nationwide injunction against their application, [citation].

   The Ninth Circuit held that Earth Island’s challenges to regulations not at issue in the Burnt Ridge Project were not ripe for adjudication because there was ‘‘not a sufficient ‘case or controversy’’’ before the court to sustain a facial challenge. [Citation.] It affirmed, however, the District Court’s determination that §§ 215.4(a) and 215.12(f ), which were applicable to the Burnt Ridge Project, were contrary to law, and upheld the nationwide injunction against their application.

   The Government sought review of the question whether Earth Island could challenge the regulations at issue in the Burnt Ridge Project, and if so whether a nationwide injunction was appropriate relief. We granted certiorari, [citation].


   In limiting the judicial power to ‘‘Cases’’ and ‘‘Controversies,’’ Article III of the Constitution restricts it to the traditional role of Anglo-American courts, which is to redress or prevent actual or imminently threatened injury to persons caused by private or official violation of law. Except when necessary in the execution of that function, courts have no charter to review and revise legislative and executive action. [Citations.] This limitation ‘‘is founded in concern about the proper—and properly limited—role of the courts in a democratic society.’’ [Citations.]

   The doctrine of standing is one of several doctrines that reflect this fundamental limitation. It requires federal courts to satisfy themselves that ‘‘the plaintiff has ‘alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy’ as to warrant his invocation of federal-court jurisdiction.’’ [Citation.] He bears the burden of showing that he has standing for each type of relief sought. [Citation.] To seek injunctive relief, a plaintiff must show that he is under threat of suffering ‘‘injury in fact’’ that is concrete and particularized; the threat must be actual and imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; it must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and it must be likely that a favorable judicial decision will prevent or redress the injury. [Citation.] This requirement assures that ‘‘there is a real need to exercise the power of judicial review in order to protect the interests of the complaining party.’’ [Citation.] Where that need does not exist, allowing courts to oversee legislative or executive action ‘‘would significantly alter the allocation of power … away from a democratic form of government,’’ [citation].

   The regulations under challenge here neither require nor forbid any action on the part of respondents. The standards and procedures that they prescribe for Forest Service appeals govern only the conduct of Forest Service officials engaged in project planning. ‘‘[W]hen the plaintiff is not himself the object of the government action or inaction he challenges, standing is not precluded, but it is ordinarily ‘substantially more difficult’ to establish.’’ [Citation.] Here, respondents can demonstrate standing only if application of the regulations by the Government will affect them in the manner described above.

   It is common ground that the respondent organizations can assert the standing of their members. To establish the concrete and particularized injury that standing requires, respondents point to their members’ recreational interests in the National Forests. While generalized harm to the forest or the environment will not alone support standing, if that harm in fact affects the recreational or even the mere esthetic interests of the plaintiff, that will suffice. [Citation.]

   Affidavits submitted to the District Court alleged that organization member Ara Marderosian had repeatedly visited the Burnt Ridge site, that he had imminent plans to do so again, and that his interests in viewing the flora and fauna of the area would be harmed if the Burnt Ridge Project went forward without incorporation of the ideas he would have suggested if the Forest Service had provided him an opportunity to comment. The Government concedes this was sufficient to establish Article III standing with respect to Burnt Ridge. [Citation.] Marderosian’s threatened injury with regard to that project was originally one of the bases for the present suit. After the District Court had issued a preliminary injunction, however, the parties settled their differences on that score. Marderosian’s injury in fact with regard to that project has been remedied, and it is, as the District Court pronounced, ‘‘not at issue in this case.’’ [Citation.] We know of no precedent for the proposition that when a plaintiff has sued to challenge the lawfulness of certain action or threatened action but has settled that suit, he retains standing to challenge the basis for that action (here, the regulation in the abstract), apart from any concrete application that threatens imminent harm to his interests. Such a holding would fly in the face of Article III’s injury-in-fact requirement. [Citation.]

   Respondents have identified no other application of the invalidated regulations that threatens imminent and concrete harm to the interests of their members. * * *

   Respondents argue that they have standing to bring their challenge because they have suffered procedural injury, namely that they have been denied the ability to file comments on some Forest Service actions and will continue to be so denied. But deprivation of a procedural right without some concrete interest that is affected by the deprivation—a procedural right in vacuo—is insufficient to create Article III standing. Only a ‘‘person who has been accorded a procedural right to protect his concrete interests can assert that right without meeting all the normal standards for redressability and immediacy.’’ [Citation.] * * *

   The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed in part and affirmed in part.

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