414 U.S. 1052 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

LIFE OF THE LAND v. BRINEGAR , 414 U.S. 1052 (1973)

414 U.S. 1052

LIFE OF THE LAND et al., applicants,
Claude S. BRINEGAR, Secretary of Transportation, et al., respondents.
No. A-435.

Supreme Court of the United States

November 21, 1973

On motions to vacate order staying mandate and rinstating injunction of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The motions of the State of Hawaii and of Kalihi-Palama

Page 414 U.S. 1052 , 1053

Community Council et al., presented to the Court to vacate the stay and injunction entered by Mr. Justice DOUGLAS on November 7, 1973, are granted.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, dissenting.

This case involves the sufficiency and objectivity of an Environmental Impact Statement prepared in connection with the construction of the Reef Runway Project at Honolulu International Airport. The project is a 12,000-foot runway to be built off-shore on filled reef- land in the Keehi Lagoon. The construction will involve the dredging of some 14 million cubic yards of coral and silt, consuming over 1,200 acres of ocean coral reef. The EIS, required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969,1 was prepared in this case as a 'joint project' by the Federal Aviation Agency, the State of Hawaii, and the Ralph M. Parsons Company. [Footnote 2] The problem, as the Court of Appeals noted, is that Parsons is a private firm under contract to render management consulting services for the project in the event it is approved and thus has a strong 'financial interest in an affirmative decision on the proposed project.' 485 F.2d 460, 467 (CA9 1973). The court, however, found nothing 'in either the wording of NEPA or the case law, which indicates that, as a matter of law, a firm with a financial interest in the project may not assist in the drafting of the EIS.' Id., 467.

It seems to me a total frustration of the entire purpose of NEPA to entrust evaluation of the environmental factors to a firm with a multimillion dollar stake in the [414 U.S. 1052 , 1054]

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