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Utah v. Andrus

Citation: 11 ELR 20032
No. No. 79-1697, 636 F.2d 276/15 ERC 1264/(10th Cir., 12/01/1980) Aff'd

Affirming the district court's dismissal of the lawsuit, 9 ELR 20616, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that injuries to plaintiffs that might arise as a result of preparation of a programmatic, basin-wide environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Central Utah Water Project are not sufficiently concrete to give them standing to sue. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment directing that the National Environmental Policy Act does not require a basin-wide EIS and that if such a statement were prepared it could not be applied to the overall project. The district court dismissed the complaint because Congress passed Pub. L. No. 95-465, which provides that water resource projects in the Colorado River Basin may proceed if a site-specific EIS is filed prior to completion of the programmatic EIS. The district court concluded that since the basin-wide EIS has neither been written nor funded, no injury could occur until 1985 at the earliest, and thus there is no case or controversy. The Tenth Circuit notes that the possibility that the basin-wide EIS might delay completion of particular projects has been removed by the congressional enactment. Plaintiffs' claims that they are presently making important decisions regarding the Utah projects that could be affected by the basin-wide EIS, are speculative and do not constitute a justiciable dispute. Moreover, Congress has yet to decide whether to fund the basin-wide EIS are speculative and do not constitute a justiciable dispute. Moreover, Congress has yet to decide whether to fund the correctly held that the lawsuit lacked an actual case or controversy sufficiently ripe for declaratory judgment.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Robert B. Hansen, Attorney General; Dallin W. Jensen, Richard L. Dewsnup, Ass't Attorneys General
236 State Capitol, Salt Lake City UT 84114
(801) 533-5261

Edward W. Clyde
Clyde & Pratt
351 S. State St., Salt Lake City UT 84111
(801) 322-2516

Counsel for Defendants
Jacques B. Gelin, Robert L. Klarquist; James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2762

Ronald L. Rencher, U.S. Attorney; Wallace T. Boyack, Ass't U.S. Attorney
200 Post Office & Cthse. Bldg., Salt Lake City UT 84101
(801) 524-5685

DOYLE, J., joined by McWilliams and McKay, JJ.