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Ono v. Harper

Citation: 14 ELR 20910
No. No. 82-0766, 592 F. Supp. 698/(D. Haw., 06/07/1983)

The court holds that the Federal Property Review Board's policy of denying no-cost public benefit transfers of surplus land and the General Service Administration's (GSA's) refusal to transfer lands to plaintiffs are not reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), do not give rise to a particularized injury under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA), do not require consistency determinations under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), do not violate dur process, and do not require environmental analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court first rules that the Board's policy need not be the product of formal rulemaking, since it falls under the public land exception in APA § 553(a)(2). GSA's decisions to deny transfer of specific properties are committed to agency discretion by law, and are thus exempt from review under APA § 701(a)(2). Plaintiffs have not alleged a particularized injury that would give them standing to challenge the denials under LWCFA or the Federal Property and Administrtive Services Act. Mere transfer of title cannot directly affect the coastal zone, so no CZMA consistency determination is required. Plaintiffs have no cognizable property interest deserving due process protection. Since plaintiffs do not argue that the agency actions may have cumulative or synergistic environmental impacts, there is no need for a programmatic environmental review under NEPA. Indeed, since no physical environmental harm has been alleged, NEPA is inapplicable.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Tany S. Tong, Attorney General; William M. Tam
State Capitol, Honolulu HI 96813
(808) 548-4747

Counsel for Defendants
Deniel A. Bent, U.S. Attorney; Michael Chun
Room C-242, PJKK Feb. Bldg., Box 50183, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu HI 96850
(808) 546-7170

David F. Shuey
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5392

Counsel for Intervenors
Gary M. Slovin, Corp. Counsel; Maria C. Avinante-Tanaka
Honolulu City Hall, 530 S. Spring St., Honolulu HI 96813
(808) 523-4115