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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Serv.

ELR Citation: 20 ELR 20801
Nos. No. 89-5474, 901 F.2d 673/(8th Cir., 04/19/1990)

The court holds that environmental groups have standing to challenge the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service's (ASCS') decision to exempt 6,500 acres of North Dakota prairie wetland from the wetland conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985. The court first holds that the groups alleged sufficient injury to their members. Affidavits of members living within the exempted area asserted that granting of the exemption will result in increased wetland conversion which will cause a decrease in wildlife populations and threaten well water by lowering the water table and decreasing water purity. The court holds that the groups have satisfied the traceability and redressability requirements for standing. The court also rejects ASCS' argument that redress is impossible because substantial wetland has already been converted. Redress from additional future injury is sufficient to support standing. The court also holds that the groups are arguably within the Act's "zone of interests," rejecting the argument that only landowners denied benefits under the statute may sue. The members living in the area are landowners whose enjoyment and water supply will be adversely affected by the exemption.

Counsel for Appellants
Anthony Turrini
National Wildlife Federation
1605 E. Capitol, Bismarck ND 58501
(701) 222-2442

Counsel for Appellees
Murray Sagsveen
Zuger, Kirmis, Bolinske & Smith
Provident Life Bldg., 316 N. Fifth St., P.O. Box 1695, Bismarck ND 58502-1695
(701) 223-2711

Before LAY, Chief Judge, BEAM, Circuit Judge, and HANSON, Senior District Judge.*