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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Morton

Citation: 2 ELR 20029
No. No. 71-2031, 458 F.2d 827/3 ERC 1558/(D.C. Cir., 01/13/1972) Denying motion for summary reversal

Appealing from a district court's issuance of a preliminary injunction halting bids for leases for oil and gas on the outer continental shelf lands off Louisiana, the government filed a motion for summary reversal. The Court of Appeals held that the discussion of the effects of alternative courses of action contained in the Environmental Impact Statement was inadequate. A Statement must discuss all reasonable alternatives, not only those which could be put into effect by the agency issuing the Statement. When the action proposed is part of a broad-based plan, alternatives must be evaluated widely and ought to include consideration of possible actions of other agencies, Congress and the President. The discussion need not be exhaustive and indeed may draw upon outside sources, but it must contain information sufficient to permit a reasoned choice of alternatives as far as environmental aspects are concerned. Even alternatives which don't completely solve the problem at hand must be considered. Motion for summary reversal denied.

Counsel for Appellees
Thomas B. Stoel, Jr.
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
Washington, D.C.

Counsel for Appellants
Edmund D. Clark
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Chevron Oil Company
John H. Pickering