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Valley Citizens for a Safe Env't v. Vest

ELR Citation: 22 ELR 20335
Nos. No. 91-3007-F, (D. Mass., 05/06/1991)

The court holds that the Air Force is not required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) for its night flights of transport planes into and out of Westover Air Force Base. Although the Air Force's EIS for the operation of transport planes at the base prohibited night flights, the flights went on a 24-hour schedule after the Persian Gulf War began. The court holds that the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Air Force reasonably determined that the continuing unstable situation in the Middle East created an emergency within the meaning of NEPA and CEQ regulations, thus suspending the Air Force's duty to strictly comply with NEPA. Although the war had ended, the agencies reasonably found that the emergency conditions continued, given the military's operational and scheduling difficulties and the volatile nature of the Persian Gulf.

[Related decisions are published at 19 ELR 20497 and 20 ELR 20185.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Cristobal Bonisaz
48 N. Pleasant, Amherst MA 01002
(413) 253-5626

Counsel for Defendants
C. Jeffrey Kinder, Ass't U.S. Attorney
1550 Main St., U.S. Courthouse, Springfield MA 01103
(413) 785-0235