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Entergy Arkansas, Inc. v. Nebraska

Citation: 30 ELR 20449
No. No. 99-2376, 210 F.3d 887/(8th Cir., 04/11/2000) injunction upheld

The court upholds a district court decision to preliminarily enjoin Nebraska from continuing with an administrative proceeding related to the denial of a license for a disposal facility for low-level nuclear waste generated within the member states of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. The court first holds that the district court had jurisdiction to issue its injunction. By entering into the compact, Nebraska waived a portion of its sovereign immunity. The district court also has jurisdiction to enjoin state officers under Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908). The relief was solely prospective, and the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission made a sufficient showing of Nebraska's ongoing violation of federal law. The court also holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction. There is sufficient evidence in the record to support the district court's factual findings and its conclusion that the commission has shown a likelihood of success on the merits. This includes evidence of interference in the licensing process by Nebraska's executive branch, delay and excessive expenditures fostered by the state, and the denial of a second license application on an apparent pretext. The commission has also made a sufficient showing of Nebraska's abuse of the administrative process to demonstrate irreparable harm. The court further holds that the Anti-Injunction Act does not bar the preliminary injunction issued by the district court. Both the text of the statute and its purpose support the conclusion that the Act applies only to state courts and not to state administrative agencies.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 29 ELR 21277.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
John P. Heil
Baird, Holm Law Firm
1500 Woodmen Tower, Omaha NE 68102
(402) 344-0500

Counsel for Defendants
Linda L. Willard
Attorney General's Office
2115 State Capitol
P.O. Box 98920, Lincoln NE 68509
(402) 471-2682

Before Wollman and Arnold, JJ.