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Garrett v. NRC

Citation: 8 ELR 20510
No. No. 78-269, 11 ERC 1685/(D. Or., 05/22/1978) Motion for preliminary injunction denied

The court holds that under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) defendants need not prepare an environmental impact statement in connection with the decision to store indefinitely spent nuclear fuel in facilities intended only for short-term storage. Six weeks earlier, the court had denied plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, 8 ELR 20509, ruling that the alleged dangers of long-term use of such facilities was insufficiently irreparable in light of the federal government's ability and intent to construct secure long-term storage facilities within the foreseeable future. Here, plaintiffs' requested relief is denied for failure to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of the NEPA claim. The expert testimony presented by plaintiffs is insufficiently credible to convince the court that the added dangers of using short-term facilities for extended-term storage constitute significant environmental effects under NEPA. The significance of any such environmental risks is lessened still further by the likelihood that the Department of Energy will soon construct longer-term storage facilities into which the nuclear waste material in question can be transferred. Nor are significant environmental effects presented by the possibility of accident or terrorist attack at the storage site. These possibilities are too remote and speculative to warrant relief under NEPA. Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is denied; the court has assumed for this purpose that the jurisdictional and related arguments raised within defendants' motion to dismiss are without merit.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Richard Aboussie
4150 S.W. Dosch Rd., Portland OR 97200
(503) 246-4402

Charles J. Merten
Suite, C, Mikado Block, 117 S.W. Taylor, Portland OR 97204
(503) 227-3157

Counsel for Defendants
Sidney I. Lezak, U.S. Attorney; Thomas C. Lee, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 71, Portland OR 97207
(503) 221-2101

Warren Hastings, Associate General Counsel
Portland General Electric Co.
1325 Williamette Center Tower, 121 S. W. Salmon, Portland OR 97204
(503) 226-8881