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Laine v. Weinberger

ELR Citation: 12 ELR 20973
Nos. No. CV 81-3969-AAH, 541 F. Supp. 599/18 ERC 1544/(C.D. Cal., 06/18/1982)

The court rules that a publicly disclosed environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required for a naval weapons storage facility which might house nuclear weapons. For national security reasons, the Navy may neither admit nor deny that it is storing or planning to store nuclear weapons at the facility. Therefore, the court, applying the Supreme Court's decision in Weinberger v. Catholic Action of Hawaii/Peace Education Project, 12 ELR 20098, rules that whether there is a proposal for a major federal action that would trigger the EIS requirement is beyond judicial scrutiny. Nor does the mere fact that the facility or weapons stored there are nuclear-capable establish publicly that such a proposal exists. In addition, there is no evidence of new construction or changes in operation requiring preparation of an environmental assessment (EA).

The court also rules that neither a publicly disclosed EIS nor an EA is required concerning conventional weapons. Since information about conventional weapons is classified, such information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the continuation of this long-running activity is not a major federal action or a proposal for such action. Finally, the court rules that plaintiffs' state law public nuisance claim is barred by the Supremacy Clause and a federal claim is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

[The issues raised in this case are analyzed at 12 ELR 10007 — Ed.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Leonard I. Weinglass, Linda Moreno
304 S. Broadway, Suite 223, Los Angeles CA 90013
(213) 620-0700

Counsel for Defendants
Stephen S. Trott, U.S. Attorney; Frederick M. Brosio, Stephen D. Petersen
312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2434