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Conservation Law Found. of R.I. v. General Servs. Admin.

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20409
Nos. No. 77-0015, 427 F. Supp. 1369/9 ERC 2032/(D.R.I., 03/14/1977)

The court refuses to grant a preliminary injunction against issuing licenses to oil-related companies for use of surplus government property pending completion of a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS). Due to a phasing out of naval activities in Rhode Island, certain government property was declared to be surplus, and the state was authorized to "license out" these areas to industrial and commercial enterprises. The present short-term licenses are particularly attractive to companies involved in offshore oil exploration and drilling. Plaintiffs, residents of the area, sought to enjoin the licensing pending completion of a National Environmental Policy Act impact statement. Defendants agreed to prepare a comprehensive EIS for all the surplus property except for an area that is to be transferred to the state for historical preservation. The court decides three issues. First, plaintiffs have standing because of an indisputable geographic nexus to the property. Secondly, because a separate environmental assessment will be made of the area to be set aside for historical preservation, it need not be included in the comprehensive EIS. Thirdly, the state may continue to issue licenses to oil-related companies while the EIS is in preparation because plaintiffs have failed to show a substantial threat that they will suffer irreparable injury if an injunction is not granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Sister Arlene Violet
Office of the Attorney General
411 Providence County Court House, Providence RI 02903
(401) 831-6850

Harold R. Ward
28 Doyle Ave., Providence RI 02906
(401) 751-2239

Counsel for Defendants
Lincoln C. Almond, U.S. Attorney; Everett Sammartino, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1401, Providence RI 02901
(401) 528-4311

Counsel for Intervenor Robert E. Derecktor
Dennis J. Roberts, Dennis J. Roberts, II
Roberts & Willey, Inc.
10 Dorrance St., Providence RI 02903
(401) 521-7000