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Metlakatla Indian Community v. Adams

Citation: 7 ELR 20407
No. No. 77-0154, 427 F. Supp. 871/10 ERC 1205/(D.D.C., 02/25/1977)

The court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment in a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit removal of certain housing units as part of the relocation of a Coast Guard air station. Employing the "reasonableness" standard of review, the court finds that the Coast Guard's determination that the relocation would not significantly affect the environment and the assessment upon which it was based fulfilled the agency's responsibilities under NEPA. Noting that prospective socioeconomic impacts require preparation of an environmental impact statement only when primary effects on the physical environment are also foreseen, the court concludes that plaintiffs have attempted to use NEPA as a vehicle to obtain needed housing for the Indian community, a purpose for which the statute was not intended. For these reasons, plaintiffs have failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Francis J. O'Toole, Jay R. Kramer, Richard Schifter
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman
600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington DC 20037
(202) 965-9400

Counsel for Defendants
Gary Randall
Department of Justice
Washington DC 20530
(202) 737-8200