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National Forest Preservation Group v. Butz

Citation: 2 ELR 20571
No. No. 2146, 343 F. Supp. 696/4 ERC 1535/(D. Mont., 05/23/1972)

The plaintiffs, suing for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Secretary of Agriculture from trading national forest land for a larger plot owned by a railroad, have failed to demonstrate that the Secretary's actions were arbitrary or capricious. The plaintiffs had the opportunity and in fact did participate in the administrative appeals. The studies required under the Wilderness Act have been made, precluding application of Parker v. United States, 448 F.2d 783, 1 ELR 20489 (10th Cir. 1971). The defendant complied with NEPA, and the fact that EPA did not receive an opportunity to make its comments as required by the Clean Air Act does not constitute a fatal irregularity. No private individual has any kind of permanent, vested right of individual, personal preference user superior to the statutory powers vested in the Secretary of Agriculture for management of lands. Summary judgment for defendants granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
James H. Goetz
Bozeman, Montana 59715

Counsel for United States
Roy E. Murray, Jr. Asst. U.S. Attorney
Butte, Montana 59701

Gerald Fish Attorney, Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Counsel for Big Sky of Montana, Inc.
Cale Crowley
Electric Building
Billings, Montana 59715

Counsel for Burling Northern
Kendrick Smith
Dolphy Pohlman, Jr.
Corette, Smith & Dean
P.O. Box 807
Butte, Montana 59701

Richard V. Wicka
Asst. Gen. Counsel
Burlington Northern, Inc.
176 East Fifth Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101