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American Horse Protection Ass'n v. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20465
Nos. No. 80-2126, (10th Cir., 12/17/1982)

The Tenth Circuit affirms the district court's ruling that the Department of the Interior complied with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Park Service Act in developing a program to eliminate burros from Bandelier National Monument. The court holds that the National Park Service (NPS) reasonably concluded that the program was not a major federal action and did not significantly affect the human environment and therefore did not require preparation of an environmental impact statement. The court also rules that the environmental assessment prepared by NPS adequately discussed the burro problem, alternatives to elimination of the burros, and the beneficial impacts of the program. In addition, the court holds that the NPS action was neither in excess of its authority nor arbitrary. Interior Department regulations permit total eradication of "exotic" as distinguished from "native" plant and animal species that may be detrimental to national park and monument resources. The court holds that NPS properly concluded that the burros, which are not native to the United States, are an exotic species whose presence threatened the resources of Bandelier National Monument.

Counsel for Appellant
David M. Barrett, Joseph E. Schuler
Barrett, Hanna, Daly & Gaspar
2550 M St. NW, Suite 475, Washington DC 20037
(202) 293-3204

Counsel for Appellees
Dirk D. Snel, David C. Shilton, Anthony C. Liotta
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4400

R. E. Thompson, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 607, Albuquerque NM 87103
(505) 766-3341

Counsel for Appellees-Intervenors
Luke J. Danielson
1738 Pearl St., Denver CO 80203
(303) 863-1900