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Sierra Club v. Hodel

Citation: 7 ELR 20008
No. No. 74-3366, 544 F.2d 1036/9 ERC 1449/(9th Cir., 10/26/1976) Rev'd in part

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) must evaluate the environmental impacts of construction and operation of a privately-financed magnesium plant in its NEPA impact statement for an electrical supply contract for the plant and construction of a transmission line to it. The Supreme Court's opinion in Kleppe v. Sierra Club, 6 ELR 20532, indicates that the environmental impact statement need not show the energy effect of this supply contract on all BPA's other contracts or energy users, and the impact statement adequately examined the environmental effects of constructing the transmission line. The district court erred, however, in holding that the agency need not consider construction and operation of the plant as part of the project for NEPA purposes. The supply contract and BPA construction of the transmission line have sufficiently "federalized" the entire project, including the proposed plant, to make it "major federal action" within the meaning of the statute. Although the Washington State Department of Ecology prepared a comprehensive impact statement on the plant, the responsible federal officials neither participated in its preparation nor adopted it as their own. The one and one-half page reference to construction and operation of the plant in the BPA impact statement is thus inadequate. The court remands the case with instructions to direct a stay of any further construction of the plant pending submission of a revised impact statement.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
Williams D. Rives
Davis, Wright, Todd, Reise & Jones
4200 Seattle First National Bank Bldg.
Seattle WA 98154
(206) 622-3150

Counsel for Defendant-Appellee
Thomas C. Lee, U.S. Attorney
Gary Stark, Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
1010 5th Ave.
Seattle WA 98104
(206) 442-7970

Before: KOELSCH and TRASK, Circuit Judges, and MURPHY,* District Judge.