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Citizens Against 2,4-D v. Watt

Citation: 12 ELR 20334
No. No. CIV-81-1006-D, 527 F. Supp. 465/17 ERC 1240/(W.D. Okla., 08/11/1981)

The district court upholds defendants' decision not to prepare an environmental impact statement prior to application of an herbicide in the Fort Cobb Reservoir in Oklahoma. Defendants prepared an environmental assessment, which concluded that the experimental application of 2,4-dicholorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) would have no significant environmental impact. After determining that the proposed use of 2,4-D constitutes a major federal action within the meaning of §102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act, the court finds that the proposed action will not significantly affect the human environment. First, the court finds that the proposed action is needed to obtain data on the herbicide's use in controlling watermilfoil, an aquatic plant that has infested the reservoir, posing a hazard to most recreational uses of the reservoir and threatening the reservoir's water supply. Next, the court finds that the information considered by defendants demonstrates that the amounts of 2,4-D to be used in the reservoir cannot reasonably be expected to have significant environmental consequences. Finally, the court determines that defendants considered four alternative methods of controlling watermilfoil and reasonably found that 2,4-D treatment was the best for the Fort Cobb Reservoir. The court holds that defendants met their burden of making a compelling showing of nonsignificance and dismisses the action, dissolving the temporary restraining order previously granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Barbara Rauch
P.O. Box 928, Edmond OK 73034
(405) 348-5040

David C. Hood
Benefield, Ryan, Cain, Hill, Hood & Rasmussen
2700 City Nat'l Bank Tower, Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 236-1626

Counsel for Defendants
David Russell, U.S. Attorney; Kathleen Flanagan
U.S. Cthse. & Fed. Bldg., Rm. 4434, Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 231-5281

William E. Pain
Birdwell & Pain
217 N. Harvey St., Suite 200, Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 236-4675