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Alaska v. Andrus

Citation: 9 ELR 20137
No. Nos. 77-3169, -3408, 591 F.2d 537/14 ERC 1299/(9th Cir., 02/22/1979) Aff'd

Affirming the lower court's decision, 7 ELR 20502, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the failure by the Secretary of the Interior to take action to halt a program by the State of Alaska to kill wolves on federal land in order to protect a caribou herd is not federal action requiring preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Concluding that the district court's judgment was a reviewable "final decision," the court notes that the Ninth Circuit has not been receptive to arguments that EISs must accompany inaction, actions that are only marginally federal, or actions where federal funding is not present. Previous cases in which ths circuit has refused to find a "major Federal action" that would trigger NEPA's EIS requirement demand the same result in this case, which involves the nonexercise of federal supervisory power. The court does not reach the substantive issue of the scope of the Secretary's authority to supersede the state in managing wildlife on federal lands because that question does not presently affect the rights of the parties.

Counsel for Appellants
William T. Council, Ass't Attorney General
Department of Law, Pouch K, Juneau AK 99801
(907) 465-3600

Counsel for Appellee
John E. Lindskold
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2206

Counsel for Intervenors Defenders of Wildlife and Natural Resources Defense Council
Karin P. Sheldon
Sheldon, Harmon & Roisman
1025 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 833-9070

Before WRIGHT and GOODWIN, Circuit Judges, and JAMESON*, District Judge.