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Utah v. Andrus

Citation: 9 ELR 20616
No. No. C-78-0391, 13 ERC 1671/(D. Utah, 07/06/1979)

Granting defendants' motion to dismiss, the court rules that construction of individual water projects need not be delayed pending preparation of a comprehensive basinwide environmental impact statement (EIS) for Colorado River water resource development once final site-specific EISs are filed. After the filing of this lawsuit, in which plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) did not require a basinwide EIS, Congress passed a rider to the Interior Department appropriations bill which provided that notwithstanding NEPA, construction of an individual project could proceed once a final site-specific EIS was prepared. The court rules that this provision moots any injury to plaintiffs from asserted delays in construction due to preparation of a basinwide EIS. On the other hand, whether NEPA requires a basinwide EIS, as argued by defendants, remains open to dispute. Because Congress has not yet funded preparation of such a comprehensive EIS and because no injury can occur prior to its completion, which will not be earlier than 1985, this issue is not yet ripe for review.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Richard L. Duwsnup, Dallin W. Jensen, Ass't Attorneys General
301 Empire Bldg., 231 E. Fourth St., Salt Lake City UT 84111
(801) 533-5261
Edward W. Clyde
Clyde & Pratt
351 S. State St., Salt Lake City UT 84111
(801) 322-2516

Counsel for Defendants
Wallace Boyack, Ass't U.S. Attorney
350 S. Main St., Salt Lake City UT 84101
(801) 524-5685

William M. Cohen
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2775