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Davis v. Latschar

Citation: 30 ELR 20364
No. No. 99-5037, 202 F.3d 359/(D.C. Cir., 02/22/2000)

The court affirms a district court grant of summary judgment to the National Park Service on the grounds that the Park Service's deer management program in Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site does not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Park Service implemented a program whereby park-employed marksmen would hunt deer until the desired density of deer per wooded square mile was achieved. The court first holds that the Park Service was not required under NEPA to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). If the district court failed to recognize the request of the animal rights groups challenging the program that the Park Service conduct an SEIS of a newly proposed management plan for deer population, it was harmless error. Additionally, the groups' alleged failure to request an SEIS was at most an alternative ground for the court's conclusion that an SEIS was not required. Moreover, the distinction between deer population and deer density was not a post hoc rationalization of the management program; the deer management program was predicated on the need to control density. The court next holds that the Park Service did not violate the NHPA. The record shows that the Park Service gave full consideration to the impact of the program on the contemplative atmosphere of the Gettysburg battlefield as required under the NHPA.

Counsel for Appellants
Katherine A. Meyer
Meyer & Glitzenstein
1601 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 450, Washington DC 20009
(202) 588-5206

Counsel for Appellees
Evelyn S. Ying
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Ginsburg and Garland, JJ.