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Environmental Defense Fund v. Hoffmann

Citation: 8 ELR 20057
No. No. 76-1366, 566 F.2d 1060/10 ERC 1897/(8th Cir., 10/25/1977) Aff'd

Affirming the district court's dissolution of an injunction against construction, the court finds that the Corps of Engineers' revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Cache River channelization project complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The lower court was "not clearly erroneous" in finding that the revised final EIS adequately meets the requirements imposed by NEPA and the guidelines of both the Council on Environmental Quality and the Corps itself. Plaintiffs challenged the sufficiency of the EIS on the grounds that it inadequately addressed adverse impacts on downstream water flow and quality. They also argued that the substantive decision to proceed with the project was arbitrary, pointing out that the project was one of 19 which had been identified by the President as economically and ecologically unjustified. The court rejected these arguments, declaring that the role of the judiciary in reviewing an EIS is not to substitute its judgment for that of the agency, but merely to ascertain whether a thorough ventilation of the issues has occurred. Finding that the Corps was at least cognizant of existing difference of opinion concerning the project, the court holds that the Corps' rejection of the plaintiffs' point of view and its subsequent decision to proceed with the project were not arbitrary and capricious.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
James T. B. Tripp
Environmental Defense Fund, Inc.
475 Park Avenue S., New York NY 10016
(202) 686-4191

G. William Lavende
P.O. Box 1229, Texarkana, AR 75501
(501) 773-3187

Counsel for Defendants
Warren Spannaus, Attorney General; William G. Peterson, Ass't Attorney General
375 Centennial Office Bldg., St. Paul MN 55155
(612) 296-6196

W. H. Dillahunty, U.S. Attorney
521 U.S. Courthouse, Little Rock AR 72203
(501) 378-5342

Glenn R. Goodsell, Jacques B. Gelin, Michael A. McCord, Peter R. Taft, Ass't Attorney General
Justice Department, Washington DC 20530
(202) 739-2757

Richard M. Adelman
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 668 Clifford Davis Federal Bldg., Memphis TN 38103
(901) 521-3608

G. D. Walker
P.O. Box 1345, Jonesboro AR 72401
(501) 932-8357

Joined by Stephenson and Stuart,* JJ.