California v. Bergland
Citation: 10 ELR 20098
483 F. Supp. 465/(E.D. Cal., 01/08/1980) Injunction issued
Granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, the court finds that the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Forest Service's second roadless area review and evaluation (RARE II) is inadequate under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and enjoins the Forest Service from allowing development of 47 areas in California that had been designated by the agency as unsuitable for preservation as wilderness. The court first notes that NEPA requires a detailed environmental analysis of the impact of the designations, as each constitutes a major federal action. The Service may not rely on its programmatic EIS based on assurances that future management decisions will be preceded by additional environmental analysis of each specific tract because its planning process forecloses future consideration of the wilderness attributes of the designated areas. Moreover, in the meantime development can occur that may irreversibly change the wilderness potential of the areas. Thus, the EIS must contain a site-specific analysis for each nonwilderness designation in order to consider wilderness values. The court also rules that the EIS is tilted toward resources development and does not adequately analyze or even disclose the environmental impact of individual nonwilderness designations. Further, the EIS fails to provide an adequate discussion of the range of alternatives to the nonwilderness designations. Because the proposed final action was not properly identified in the draft EIS and because no public comments were entertained after the proposed action was identified in the final EIS, the Forest Service failed to provide an adequate opportunity for public comment. This result also follows because of the unannounced change, between the circulation of the draft and final EISs, of the criteria by which public comments were to be evaluated. Finally, the court concludes that injunctive relief is appropriate, following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rule that a violation of NEPA establishes irreparable injury.
Counsel for Plaintiff
E. Robert Wright, Deputy Attorney General; George Deukmejian, Attorney General
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 350, Sacramento CA 95814 (916) 445-3323
Counsel for Defendants
Francis M. Goldsberry, II, Ass't U.S. Attorney
2058 Federal Bldg., 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento CA 95814
Gary W. Wilburn, Dorothy R. Burakreis, Lois J. Schiffer
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
Judy V. Davidoff
Natural Resources Division, Office of the General Counsel
Department of Agriculture, Washington DC 20250
Office of the Regional Counsel, Department of Agriculture
2 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco CA 94111
Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
Trent W. Orr
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
25 Kearney St., San Francisco CA 94108
Counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors Animal Protection Inst. of America et al.
Francia M. Welker
366 N. Main St., Ft. Bragg CA 95437
Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Trinity County
Ronald Barbatoe, Ass't District Attorney
P.O. Box 310, Weaverville CA 96093
Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors National Forest Products Ass'n et al.
David Booth Beers, William R. Galeota, S. Elizabeth Gibson
Shea & Gardner
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
George A. Sears, Timothy E. Carr, Roland Selman, III
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94105
Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors Siskiyou, Del Norte, and Shasta Counties
Robin L. Rivett
Pacific Legal Foundation
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 465, Sacramento CA 95814
Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors Webco Lumber, Inc. et al.
Rawles, Hinkle, Finnegan, Carter & Brigham
390 W. Standley St., P.O. Box 720, Ukiah CA 95482
Gerald Grinstein, Tovah Thorslund
Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis, Holman & Fletcher
2000 IBM Bldg., Seattle WA 98101