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California v. Bergland

ELR Citation: 10 ELR 20098
483 F. Supp. 465/(E.D. Cal., 01/08/1980) Injunction issued

Granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, the court finds that the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Forest Service's second roadless area review and evaluation (RARE II) is inadequate under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and enjoins the Forest Service from allowing development of 47 areas in California that had been designated by the agency as unsuitable for preservation as wilderness. The court first notes that NEPA requires a detailed environmental analysis of the impact of the designations, as each constitutes a major federal action. The Service may not rely on its programmatic EIS based on assurances that future management decisions will be preceded by additional environmental analysis of each specific tract because its planning process forecloses future consideration of the wilderness attributes of the designated areas. Moreover, in the meantime development can occur that may irreversibly change the wilderness potential of the areas. Thus, the EIS must contain a site-specific analysis for each non-wilderness designation in order to consider wilderness values. The court also rules that the EIS is tilted toward resources development and does not adequately analyze or even disclose the environmental impact of individual nonwilderness designations. Further, the EIS fails to provide an adequate discussion of the range of alternatives to the nonwilderness designations. Because the proposed final action was not properly identified in the draft EIS and because no public comments were entertained after the proposed action was identified in the final EIS, the Forest Service failed to provide an adequate opportunity for public comment. This result also follows because of the unannounced change, between the circulation of the draft and final EISs, of the criteria by which public comments were to be evaluated. Finally, the court concludes that injunctive relief is appropriate, following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rule that a violation of NEPA establishes irreparable injury.

Counsel for Plaintiff
E. Robert Wright, Deputy Attorney General; George Deukmejian, Attorney General
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 350, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 445-3323

Counsel for Defendants
Francis M. Goldsberry, II, Ass't U.S. Attorney
2058 Federal Bldg., 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 440-2331

Gary W. Wilburn, Dorothy R. Burakreis, Lois J. Schiffer
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2847

Judy V. Davidoff
Natural Resources Division, Office of the General Counsel
Department of Agriculture, Washington DC 20250
(202) 447-3066

Jack Gipsman
Office of the Regional Counsel, Department of Agriculture
2 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 556-4539

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
Trent W. Orr
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
25 Kearney St., San Francisco CA 94108
(415) 421-6561

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors Animal Protection Inst. of America et al.
Francia M. Welker
366 N. Main St., Ft. Bragg CA 95437
(707) 964-7462

Counsel for Plaintiff-Intervenor Trinity County
Ronald Barbatoe, Ass't District Attorney
P.O. Box 310, Weaverville CA 96093
(916) 623-2031

Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors National Forest Products Ass'n et al.
David Booth Beers, William R. Galeota, S. Elizabeth Gibson
Shea & Gardner
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-2000

George A. Sears, Timothy E. Carr, Roland Selman, III
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro
225 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94105
(415) 983-1000

Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors Siskiyou, Del Norte, and Shasta Counties
Robin L. Rivett
Pacific Legal Foundation
455 Capitol Mall, Suite 465, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-0154

Counsel for Defendants-Intervenors Webco Lumber, Inc. et al.
Jared Carter
Rawles, Hinkle, Finnegan, Carter & Brigham
390 W. Standley St., P.O. Box 720, Ukiah CA 95482
(707) 462-6694

Gerald Grinstein, Tovah Thorslund
Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis, Holman & Fletcher
2000 IBM Bldg., Seattle WA 98101
(206) 623-7580