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Fund for Animals v. Espy

ELR Citation: 23 ELR 20931
Nos. No. 93-0360-LFO, 814 F. Supp. 142/37 ERC 1456/(D.D.C., 02/24/1993)

The court holds that a nonprofit organization has standing to seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of a research study by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) on the transmission of brucellosis from wild bison in Yellowstone National Park to cattle outside the park without DOA first complying with the National Environmental Policy Act's (NEPA's) environmental impact statement (EIS) requirements. The court holds that the plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable concrete, aesthetic, and procedural harm to the plaintiffs by the defendant's actions, because the defendants have harmed wild bison in proceeding with the study, and the plaintiff nonprofit organization is committed to the preservation of animals in their natural habitat. There is a strong public interest in meticulous compliance with the law by public officials and the defendant has apparently violated NEPA by failing to prepare an EIS or an environmental assessment and by making no determination that a categorical exclusion applies. The court holds that the harm that will occur by allowing the study to continue without complying with NEPA outweighs the public interest in completing the study.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Katherine A. Meyer, Eric R. Glitzenstein
Meyer & Glitzenstein
1601 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 450, Washington DC 20009
(202) 588-5206

Counsel for Defendant
Charles W. Findlay, Thomas Halkowski
Environmental and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000