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Molokai Homesteaders Coop. Ass'n v. Morton

Citation: 5 ELR 20024
No. No. 73-2934, 506 F.2d 572/7 ERC 1555/(9th Cir., 10/29/1974)

The court affirms a lower court's denial of injunctive relief in an action seeking to prohibit the rental by a developer of unused space within an irrigation pipeline and distribution system built with federal reclamation loans in order to transport the developer's well water to a resort complex. Under the terms of the Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956, the pipeline must be used primarily, rather than exclusively, as plaintiffs contend, for irrigation purposes, and the developer's water transport plan will not alter the primarily irrigational nature of the system. The general statutory requirement that the Secretary of the Interior must be a party to contracts to supply water from any project irrigation system for purposes other than irrigation is inapplicable in the face of the specific provisions of the 1956 Act vesting contracting authority in a local organization. The court also rules that no NEPA impact statement is required for the rental arrangement since the loan itself was made prior to NEPA's enactment, and the right of the federal government to object to violations of its loan agreements, or its determination not to object, do not constitute major federal action.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Philip B. Bogetto
841 Bishop Street
Suite 1617
Honolulu, Ha. 96813

Counsel for Defendants
William C. McCorriston Asst. Attorney General
Federal Building
Honolulu, Ha. 96801

Edwin P. Watson Deputy Attorney General
State Capitol
415 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, Ha. 96813

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant Kaluakoi Corp.
A. Bernard Bays
Padgett, Greeley, Marumoto & Steiner
1400 Hawaii Building
745 Fort Street
Honolulu, Ha. 96813