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Southern Or. Citizens Against Toxic Sprays v. Watt

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20176
Nos. No. 79-1098, 19 ERC 1039/(D. Or., 10/20/1982) Motion for reconsideration denied

The court denies defendants' motion for reconsideration of its ruling, 13 ELR 20174, which held that a "worst-case analysis" of the health effects of herbicide spraying must be included in the 1982 environmental assessment (EA) updating a forest vegetation control programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS). The court rejects defendants' contention that a Council on Environmental Quality regulation governing the evaluation of incomplete information does not apply to the EA. The court holds first that the EA and accompanying finding of no significant impact should be viewed as part of the initial EIS. The yearly EAs are tiers in an integrated environmental review and the purpose of the tiering procedure and the annual EA is to address new information that becomes available during the 10-year spraying program. The court also rules that the probability of adverse effects actually occurring is irrelevant to a determination of whether a worst-case analysis must be prepared. Because there is uncertainty about the human health effects of herbicide spraying, the uncertainty must be revealed to the public and discussed in a worst-case analysis. Finally, the court clarifies that the human health effects of all herbicides salated for use by the defendants, not just 2,4-D, are covered by the court's order.

Counsel are listed at 13 ELR 20174.