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Trout Unlimited v. Morton

Citation: 5 ELR 20151
No. No. 74-1974, 509 F.2d 1276/7 ERC 1321/(9th Cir., 12/23/1974)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a lower court's ruling that the environmental impact statement for the Teton Dam and Reservoir project in Idaho adequately fulfills the requirements of NENVIRONMENTAL PROCTECTION AGENCY, and that injunctive relief against further construction should therefore be denied. Using a standard of review based on procedural rules rooted in environmental case law, the court holds that the EIS adequately discusses alternatives to the project and is sufficiently detailed, since as yet unplanned second home development around the reservoir is too remote and speculative an effect to warrant consideration. Since the First Phase, (actual construction of the dam and disposition of the initial 100,000 acre feet for irrigation purposes) is substantially independent of the Second Phase (congressional disposition of the remaining 100,000 acre feet of active reservoir capacity), the environmental effects of the latter need not be discussed in the impact statement. The court also rules that the EIS need not contain a formal, numerically expressed cost-benefit analysis, noting that there is no specific requirement for such an analysis in either NENVIRONMENTAL PROCTECTION AGENCY or the case law; there is sufficient disagreement about how environmental amenities should be valued to permit any value so assigned to be challenged as subjective, and this project has already undergone a cost-benefit analysis because of its status as a reclamation project.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Allen W. Stokes, Jr.
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Inc.
508 Majestic Building
209 16th Street
Denver, Colo. 80202

Counsel for Defendants
Neil Proto
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors Fremont-Madison Irrigation District and Madison County
William S. Holden
Holden, Holden, Kidwell, Hahn & Crapo
Idaho First National Bank Building
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401