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Environmental Action Found. v. Brown

Citation: 7 ELR 20372
No. No. 77-59, 10 ERC 1170/(D.D.C., 03/03/1977)

The court denies defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of standing to sue and laches in this National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) challenge to the Defense Department's B-1 bomber program. Plaintiffs are seven organizations professing an interest in the environmental consequences of the B-1 program. Membership organization plaintiffs correctly contend that their members living in the vicinity of B-1 manufacturing and testing sites will be injured in fact by B-1 production and testing and other members will be injured by sonic booms and other adverse, non-site-specific environmental effects of B-1 operations. These injuries are specific, different from possible damage to the general public, and nonspeculative, since threatened rather than actual injury is sufficient to confer standing. In addition, plaintiffs' informational interest, in the context of this NEPA case, is injured by defendants' failure to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS). The court does not reach the question of whether plaintiffs' right to comment on the EIS has been injured. Plaintiffs fall within the zone of interests protected by NEPA, because no exemption to NEPA exists for strategic military actions. As to laches, defendants have failed to show that plaintiffs' filing four months after the final administrative decision constitutes unreasonable delay, especially since the United States is not bound by any contractual arrangements to complete the B-1 program.

Motions denied except as to plaintiff Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union for failure to answer interrogatories.

For moving papers in this case, see ELR 65426.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Leonard C. Meeker, Richard A. Frank
Center for Law and Social Policy
1751 N St., NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 872-0670

Counsel for Defendants
Irwin L. Schroeder
Department of Justice, Washingon DC 20530
(202) 739-2710