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American Petroleum Inst. v. Knecht

Citation: 10 ELR 20083
No. No. 78-3500, 609 F.2d 1306/14 ERC 1114/(9th Cir., 12/19/1979) Aff'd

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a lower court decision, 8 ELR 20853, rejecting challenges to federal approval of the State of California's Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act. The lower court correctly ruled the challenges to federal approval of the program under § 306 of the Act are ripe for review while issues relating to the state's exercise of its consistency powers over federal projects under § 307 are not presently ripe for disposition. The court of appeals also holds that the applicable standard to review is the "arbitrary and capricious" test which involves deference to defendants' interpretation of the statutory provisions and governing regulations. The court then affirms the district court's finding that the federal determination that the state program satisfied the relevant legal requirements was not based upon portions of a program description never formally adopted in accordance with state law. The standards established in the California program are sufficiently specific "to guide public and private uses" and thus meet the statutory requisites. In addition, the court finds that by requiring all local jurisdictions to develop or amend local ordinances to conform to the state program, California has met the statutory requirement of state and local program coordination. Finally, the court upholds the district court's conclusion that the government's determination regarding the state program's compliance with the statutory requirement for consideration of the national interest in energy facility siting and the prohibition against unreasonable restrictions of land and water uses of regional benefit was reasonable.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
Philip K. Verleger, Howard J. Privett, Ward L. Benshoof
McCutchen, Black, Verleger & Shea
30th Floor, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010
(213) 381-3411

Counsel for Defendants-Appellees
James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General; Sanford Sagalkin, Bruce A. Rashkow
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2779

Counsel for Intervening Defendant-Appellee California Coastal Zone Commission
R.H. Connett, Ass't Attorney General; Roderick Walston, Deputy Attorney General
Room 6000, 350 McAllister St., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 557-3727

Counsel for Intervening Defendants-Appllees NRDC and Sierra Club
John Roger Beers
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
25 Kearney St., San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 421-6561

Before BROWNING and GOODWIN, Circuit Judge and JAMESON,* District Judge.