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Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Animal & Plant Health Inspection Serv.

Citation: 30 ELR 20397
No. No. 99-15398, 211 F.3d 1274/(9th Cir., 02/24/2000)

The court upholds a district court determination that the Animal and Plant Inspection Service satisfied the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it prepared a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for a regulation addressing foreign pest infestation of plants and hardwoods. The court first holds that the service has taken the requisite hard look in its SEIS. The service both addressed problems in the original environmental impact statement and adequately summarized and responded to public commentary. The service disclosed the reasoning and analysis underlying its conclusion that a combination of mitigation measures will reduce the risk of foreign pest infestation to negligible levels. Although the SEIS recognizes that there are gaps in the data, there is no evidence to demonstrate that the service's conclusion is invalid. Moreover, the fact that the service determined that the applicable regulations would require supplementation as new information becomes available does not detract from the conclusion that the service took a hard look at the consequences of its action in the SEIS. The district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the service, therefore, was proper.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (8 pp., ELR Order No. L-190).

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Carrie Stilwell
Western Environmental Law Center
1216 Lincoln St., Eugene OR 97401
(541) 485-2471

Counsel for Defendant
Sylvia Liu
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000