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Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, Inc. v. Watson

Citation: 12 ELR 20187
No. No. J81-12, 16 ERC 1958/(D. Alaska, 09/11/1981) Preliminary injunction issued

The district court issues a temporary restraining order prohibiting certain mining activities within the Misty Fjords National Monument in Alaska. The U.S. Forest Service allowed U.S. Borax to begin the mining activities, which are identical to those described in U.S. Borax's 1979 Bulk Sampling Study Plan, without preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS). The court rules that denial of preliminary relief will cause plaintiff irreparable injury because the Forest Service will continue to allow mining activities, which will disturb wildlife habitat and may result in adverse environmental consequences. In addition, the court rules that plaintiff has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits since § 503(h)(3) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act requires preparation of an EIS before federal agency approval of the building of an access road for bulk sampling and the start of the bulk sampling phase of the project. Finally, the court rules that granting the temporary restraining order is in the public interest.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Durwood J. Zaelke
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Inc.
419 6th St., Suite 321, Juneau AK 99801
(907) 586-2751

Counsel for Defendants
Sue Ellen Tatter, Ass't U.S. Attorney
701 C St., Box 9, Anchorage AK 99513
(907) 271-5071

Counsel for Intervenor Defendants
Michael T. Thomas
Robertson, Monagle, Eastaugh & Bradley
P.O. Box 679, Anchorage AK 99510
(907) 277-6693