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Suffolk, County of v. Secretary of the Interior

ELR Citation: 7 ELR 20637
Nos. Nos. 77-6049, -6050, 562 F.2d 1368/10 ERC 1513/(2d Cir., 08/25/1977) Rev'd

Reversing the district court, 7 ELR 20230, the Second Circuit holds that the final enironmental impact statement (EIS) for the lease sale of tracts for oil and gas exploitation on the mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) satisfied the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The lower court substituted its own substantive views on the project for the findings of the agency rather than applying the proper "rule of reason" to review of the adequacy of the EIS. The court emphasizes that the EIS was adequate for this preliminary stage because subsequent modification to satisfy environmental objections is still possible. The Department of the Interior will maintain continuous control of OCS mineral exploitation, and a subsequent EIS on the actual development of oil and gas resources will be required that will deal with the environmental questions posed by bringing the oil and gas to shore. It is too early to make realistic assessments because oil has not yet actually been discovered. The lower court's injunction is vacated, and the cases are remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaints.

Counsel are listed at 7 ELR 20230.

Smith, C.J.,* and Palmieri, D.J.,** concur.