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National Rifle Ass'n of Am. v. Kleppe

Citation: 7 ELR 20184
No. No. 76-1845, 425 F. Supp. 1101/9 ERC 1632/(D.D.C., 12/17/1976)

The court dismisses plaintiff's suit challenging Fish and Wildlife Service regulations requiring steel shot for certain waterfowl hunting as arbitrary and capricious and alleging the NEPA impact statement comparing lead and steel shot to be inadequate. The EIS documented that substantial lethal effects of lead poisoning in waterfowl due to ingestion of lead shot while feeding. The Fish and Wildlife Service decided that steel would be the best replacement for lead in shotgun shells and carried out extensive tests and studies on the safety problems for humans and waterfowl and the effects on guns and the hunting industry. Subsequently, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued proposed regulations, held hearings, and issued final regulations setting up a gradual implementation in the regional flyways of the requirement that only steel shot be used in guns 12 gauge or larger. The court concludes that the EIS is a good-faith, objective, and adequate discussion of the effects of the steel shot regulations and does not violate the substantive requirements of NEPA. Furthermore, the regulations themselves have an adequate basis in fact and are neither arbitrary, capricious, nor an abuse of discretion.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Thomas C. Watson
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
1800 M St., NW
Washington DC 20036
(202) 872-5177

Counsel for Defendants
Geoffrey A. Meuller
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-3797

Lawrence T. Bennett, Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
3d & Constitution Aves., NW
Washington DC 20001
(202) 426-7810

Counsel for Intervening Defendant National Wildlife Federation
Oliver A. Houck
National Wildlife Federation
1412 16th St., NW
Washington DC 20036
(202) 797-6800

Counsel for Intervening Defendant Defenders of Wildlife
Bruce J. Terris
1908 Sunderland Pl., NW
Washington DC 20036
(202) 785-1992