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Foundation for Horses & Other Animals v. Babbitt

ELR Citation: 29 ELR 20099
Nos. 98-55148, 154 F.3d 1103/(9th Cir., 09/11/1998) Aff'd on alternative ground

The court holds that the National Park Service's decision to remove a herd of 12 horses from Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court first holds that the plaintiff foundation provided no support for its assertion that the horses are subject to the provisions of NEPA. As they are privately owned personal property, the Channel Islands National Park Act mandates their removal and they are not the subject matter of procedures mandated by NEPA. The court then holds that even if the foundation had amended its complaint, its bald assertion that the horses are not privately owned personal property would have been insufficient to preclude summary judgment. The foundation cannot defeat the earlier, sworn affidavits it submitted by simply withdrawing its ownership claim or by stating in a conclusory fashion that the horses are feral or wild. Thus, the court concludes that the foundation cannot maintain a NEPA action.

[The district court decision in this litigation is published at 28 ELR 21180.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
James R. Nichols Jr.
Law Offices of James R. Nichols Jr.
1900 State St., Santa Barbara CA 93101
(805) 569-3931

Counsel for Defendants
Scott B. Campbell
Rogers, Sheffield & Herman
427 E. Carrillo St., Santa Barbara CA 93121
(805) 963-9721

Before Fletcher, Fernandez, and Rymer, JJ.