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Badoni v. Higginson

ELR Citation: 11 ELR 20204
Nos. No. 78-1517, 638 F.2d 172/15 ERC 1305/(10th Cir., 11/03/1980)

Affirming the district court's award of summary judgment to appellees, the court rejects Indian appellants' claims that (1) the Rainbow Bridge National Monument must be managed to accommodate appellants' exercise of freedom of religion and (2) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) an environmental impact statement (EIS) must be prepared concerning the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam and Reservoir. The free exercise claim requires the court to balance competing interests of the parties. Although the flooding of the monument and its heavy tourist traffic significantly disrupt appellants' religious practices, the court finds that this interest is outweighed by the government's interest in the continued operation of the dam and reservoir. Moreover, to order changes in the handling of the tourist traffic at the monument might run afoul of Establishment Clause prohibitions. With respect to the NEPA issues, the court notes that since appellees have already agreed to prepare a programmatic EIS on the entire Colorado River Basin Project, of which the Glen Canyon project is a part, the sole remaining issue is whether a site-specific EIS must be prepared for the Glen Canyon project alone. The court rules that a site-specific EIS is not required because the Glen Canyon project is an integral, interdependent component of the larger project.

Counsel for Appellants
Richard W. Hughes
Luebben, Hughes & Kelly
805 Tijeras Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 842-6123

Eric P. Sewenson
P.O. Box 161, Mexican Hat UT 84521
(801) 587-2843

Counsel for Appellees
Anne S. Almy, Robert K. Klarquist
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4427

Ronald L. Rencher, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 607, Albuquerque NM 87103
(505) 766-3341

Anthony C. Liotta, Acting Ass't Attorney General
P.O. Box 1508, Bataan Bldg., Santa Fe NM 87503
(505) 827-5521

Counsel for Intervenors
Dallin W. Jensen, Robert L. Dewsnup, Ass't Attorneys General
236 State Capitol, Salt Lake City UT 84114
(801) 533-5261

Joined by McWilliams and Breitenstein, JJ.