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Josephine, County of v. Watt

Citation: 12 ELR 21079
No. No. C-81-3262-WAI, 539 F. Supp. 696/17 ERC 1768/(N.D. Cal., 05/28/1982)

The court rules that the Department of the Interior complied with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the inclusion of five California rivers in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, but that the issue of the substantive adequacy of the EIS must proceed to trial. Initially, the court rules that plaintiffs have standing to sue. Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they may suffer injury-in-fact and that their solely economic interests that are causally connected to the actions fall within the zone of interests protected by NEPA. Next, the court determines that the NEPA procedure was not tainted by alleged efforts to speed it so as to ensure consideration by the outgoing Secretary of the Interior because the EIS was prepared with good faith objectivity.

The court rules that defendants complied with the procedural requirements of the applicable Council on Environmental Quality regulations since (1) the designations would have, at most, a secondary impact upon the residents and economy of Oregon, (2) plaintiffs received actual notice of the scoping sessions, and (3) invalidation of the EIS would not serve the remedial purposes of NEPA. However, the court rules that a trial must be held on the issue of whether the EIS adequately discussed the secondary impacts of the designations in Oregon. Finally, the court denies plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
William F. Martson Jr., Bruce G. Berning
Tonkon, Torp, Galen, Marmaduke & Booth
101 SW 5th Ave., Portland OR 97204
(503) 221-1440

Andrew J. Ogilvie
Collette & Erickson
43d Floor, 555 California St., San Francisco CA 94104
(415) 788-4646

Counsel for Defendants
Charles M. O'Connor, Ass't U.S. Attorney
450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 556-1126

M. Anne Jennings, Deputy Attorney General
Department of Justice
Rm. 6000, 350 McAllister St., San Francisco CA 94102
(415) 557-0818

William M. Cohen, Janice Siegel, Jacques B. Gelin, Anthony C. Liotta; Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2704