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North Dakota v. Andrus

Citation: 10 ELR 20204
No. No. A77-1063, 483 F. Supp. 255/14 ERC 1230/(D.N.D., 01/25/1980)

The court rules that the Secretary of the Interior was not required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in conjunction with his submission to Congress of a legislative proposal regarding changes in the cost-sharing requirements for federal water projects. The court upholds as reasonable the agency's threshold determination that the proposed legislation will not have significant foreseeable effects on the environment. The legislation, the impact of which will be primarily financial and political, applies only to future water projects, and its indirect environmental impacts are now largely a matter of speculation. Moreover, preparation of an EIS at this juncture would be not only speculative but repetitive since individual impact statements will be required for future water projects with significant environmental effects. The court also rejects the final contention that an EIS is required now because the cost-sharing proposal is "controversial." The provisions in the applicable Interior Department regulations that mandate EIS preparation for "controversial" proposed actions refer to substantial disputes as to the environmental effects of, rather than the presence of, substantial opposition to the proposal. Defendants' cross-motion for partial summary judgment is granted.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Murray G. Sagsveen, Attorney General
900 E. Blvd., Bismarck ND 58505
(701) 224-2210

Frederick L. Miller, Jr.
Suite 620, 1775 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 467-6370

Counsel for Defendants
James S. Hill, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 699, Bismarck ND 58501
(701) 255-4011

Alfred T. Ghiorzi
Land and Natural Resourdes Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2738