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Tribal Village of Akutan v. Hodel

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20245
Nos. Nos. A85-701 CIV et al., (D. Alaska, 01/13/1986)

The court holds that the Secretary of the Interior applied the incorrect standard in determining whether an Outer Continental Shelf lease sale would significantly effect subsistence uses and needs under §810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The court reviews the statutory requirements. ANILCA §810 requires the Secretary of the Interior to determine whether a lease sale would significantly restrict subsistence uses. If the Secretary finds the lease sale would significantly restrict such uses, then §810 requires public notice and hearings. After reviewing other Ninth Circuit decisions, the court rules the proper legal standard for determining whether significant restriction has occured is one of possibility rather than the likelihood standard used by the Secretary. The court further notes that the Secretary, in the environmental impact statement, did not adequately address how the potential impacts of the lease sale on wildife could affect the availability of subsistence resources. The court also noties that such determination may not be necessary depending on the correct application of the standard. The court requires the state, rather than the village or environmental plaintiffs, to post bond of $10,000 as security for costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(c) and concludes that since plaintiffs have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits, an injunction should issue. In an accompanying order issued the same day, the court grants partial stay to its preliminary injunction and permits the Secretary to receive bids on Lease Sale No. 92, but enjoins him from opening the bids pending resolution of the issues.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Carl Bauman
Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell & Brundin
509 W. 3rd Ave., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 274-7522

Robert Adler
Trustees for Alaska
125 Christensen Dr., Ste. 4, Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 276-4244

Counsel for Defendants
Michael R. Spaan, U.S. Attorney
Federal Bldg. & U.S. Cthse., 701 C St., Rm. C-252, Mail Box 9, Anchorage AK 99513
(907) 271-5071

William B. Rozell
Faulkner, Banfield, Doogan & Holmes
Denali Towers North, Ste. 700, 2550 Denali St., Anchorage AK 99501
(907) 274-0666