Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What is NEPA For Today?—The Sonar Case Part 3

Like many of our disruptions of the Earth, high energy “active” sonar has enabled us to do seemingly miraculous things like locate and track a very distant (quiet) submarine. The trouble is always what it costs to do these things. Researchers have drawn causal connections between active sonar and serious harms to different sea creatures, especially beaked whales. These connections have firmed up so much over the last few years that even the U.S. Navy institutionalized a layer of review in (most) peace-time uses of active sonar in an effort to minimize the damage. But who is to say when lots of disruption and damage become too much?

In the NEPA case now before the Supreme Court, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, it looks like the usual suspects will once again have that question hashed out for them. (The usual suspects are the administration v. the lower ranks of its agencies, the Ninth Circuit v. SCOTUS, the states, and perhaps Verbal Kint.) But in this third post on the case, I argue that their question is becoming a neurotic obsession that is now crowding out other, more important questions these cases are raising. Most especially, what is a statute like NEPA really for today given how much society has changed since it was enacted? This question is getting virtually no attention from the federal courts that, as an institution, seem bent on avoiding real analysis of statutory purpose even while a thing like a statute can hardly be made intelligible without at least some purpose or point being attributed to it.

To recap, the Navy had planned a long series of active sonar exercises. It determined in an “environmental assessment” (EA)—allowed under the NEPA guidelines—that by observing its own mitigation measures during its exercises, it would not cause a “significant impact” on the environment. (This is a common practice.) Some number of animals would be harmed but, in the grand scheme of things, the overall “effect” would be relatively minor, at least according to the Navy’s models. In doing so, the agency—the Navy is an “agency”—expected to slip NEPA’s requirement for a full environmental impact statement (EIS) with what is known as a “mitigated FONSI”: a Finding Of No Significant Impact that uses mitigation measures to drop the action below the significance threshold.

The Natural Resources Defense Council convinced a federal court that this got NEPA wrong. Indeed, they convinced two of them: District Judge Cooper in Los Angeles and a Ninth Circuit panel which took yet another opportunity to apply its own somewhat unique NEPA jurisprudence—most especially National Parks and Conservation Assn. v. Babbitt 241 F.3d 722 (9th Cir. 2001) (NPCA). Then the Solicitor General convinced the Supreme Court to hear the Navy’s appeal.

NPCA and other Ninth Circuit precedents have been uniquely skeptical of agency decisions to forego EIS’s. These cases have made it particularly hard for agencies to avoid EISs in finding that the likely impacts of an action are unknown or unquantifiable. Conversely, precedents in the D.C. Circuit and most of the regional circuits have tended to view such uses of uncertainty within a FONSI quite deferentially. In NPCA and a series of cases involving National Forest Management Act land planning, the Ninth Circuit has been spinning a web of barriers around the FONSI ‘exit’ from NEPA. NPCA held that “the absence of currently available information does not excuse the [agency] from preparing an EIS when there is a reasonable possibility that such information can be obtained in connection with the preparatory process.” 241 F.3d at 737. Certain panels of the Ninth Circuit now cite it routinely, most notably last year’s Center for Biological Diversity v. NHTSA, 508 F.3d 508 (9th Cir. 2007) (striking down a weak fuel economy rule for SUVs and light trucks because, among other things, NHTSA failed to prepare an EIS).

No to put too fine a point on it, but this is a fundamental dimension of modern conservation. Climate change has alerted much of the general public to this reality, but for conservationists it is like the air we breathe. Jarring uncertainties are ubiquitous in forecasting environmental futures. For example, in the Sonar Case, how well any of the parties’ proposed “mitigation” measures will actually work is deeply uncertain. It might, therefore, seem curious that only one Court of Appeal has a rule quite like NPCA’s. The likely reason is that it has virtually no connection to NEPA’s text or to the NEPA guidelines. What it does have going for it is a fair bit of common sense as an intuitive extension of NEPA’s deliberative ethos—at least if you believe agencies are predisposed to avoiding deliberation in public.

Still, I can’t help but wonder whether the sonar battle was the right one to fight at all. Isn’t it extraordinary for the President of the United States to exercise authority like what he utilized in this case—exempting the sonar exercises from complying with the CZMA? Isn’t it extraordinary for CEQ to jump into a fight between an agency and environmental plaintiffs and call a district court’s injunction the “emergency circumstances” justifying an exemption from NEPA? And isn’t it extraordinary that, during a time of war and escalating defense preparedness beyond even the two theatres of battle, the military is giving any thought at all to beaked whales and other sea life as it readies its forces? So I wonder if our priorities are a little turned around here.

When SCOTUS reverses in Winter, it will have any of a number of grounds on which to do so—most of which are much narrower than those described in my posts. (The SG’s petition focused on the “reasonableness” of CEQ’s interpretation of the “emergency circumstances” guideline and on the standard for granting a preliminary injunction.) And NRDC will no doubt point to the political leanings of the judges in the majority, acquitting itself of any blame for what may be a very bitter NEPA pill.

But these fights all combine to do a phenomenal job of hiding the prior and, in my view, far more important, question: What is NEPA for today, almost 40 years after its enactment? Politically, it has become the un-amendable statute. The last (right-wing) congressman who staked his fortunes on deep-sixing NEPA lost handily in the 2006 elections (in a conservative district). The few (lefty) academics who have pointed out how NEPA’s deliberative ethos could be enhanced by focusing less on EIS’s and more on FONSI’s, follow-up, and information management, have been largely ignored outside academia. So all we can look forward to as a Nation-under-NEPA is more mudplay from the usual suspects? That is deeply troubling. In my final post, I’ll try to sketch a different future for this conservation icon.

Posted by Jamie Colburn


HR said...

I thought this round of litigation should be captioned "habeas porpoise" and see if it sticks.

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片

kutyhgvd said...

I am so happy to get some last chaos gold and the lastchaos gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the lastchaos money is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should buy last chaos gold with the spare money and I gain some cheap lastchaos gold from other players.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工

wsty said... .
[url=]puma shoes[/url]
[url=]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=]nike air max ltd[/url]

酒店經紀ㄚ君姐姐 said...


freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,

Kitty said...

不倫希望40代出会い無料 ♪ エッチ好きギャル系人妻完全無料出会い ♪ 不倫希望ギャル妻出逢い系 ♪ 巨乳若妻出会い系サイト ♪ 割切りエロ妻出逢い系 ♪ 割切り人妻出会い ♪ 愛人希望新妻完全無料出会い ♪ 近所のエロ妻完全無料出会い ♪ 愛人募集エロ妻無料出会い ♪ 近所の40代出合い ♪ ドエム主婦即ハメ出会い ♪ ドエム人妻出会い ♪ SM好き人妻出会い系サイト ♪ SEX好き新妻出会い系サイト ♪ ヤリマン奥さんと出会い ♪ 浮気希望エロ妻出会い系サイト ♪ エロ系主婦出逢い系 ♪ 浮気希望奥さん出会い系 ♪ セフレ人妻出合い ♪ 不倫40代即アポ出会い ♪ 

Kitty said...

役に立つ人妻でも月30万以上稼げるを参考にしてみてね★→夜だけで稼げる携帯アルバイトを参考にしてみてね★優良サイト主婦 稼ぎやすい在宅バイト が良いみたいです。優良モバイルサイト素人 携帯チャットレディが1番良かったです!!マル秘情報満載未経験者 稼ぎやすいメールレディー が参考になりました♪すごい子持ち主婦に人気の高収入メールレディーはすごく良かった、大人気経験不問☆稼げる携帯メールレディはとてもよろしいと思いました。優良情報満載容姿不問 携帯チャットレディを見てみてね~♪優良情報満載人妻 高収入チャットレディー募集が良いみたいです。人気サイト月50万以上稼げる チャトレが良いみたいです。おすすめ優良人妻に人気 高収入メールレディーがイイよ、本物の副業 高報酬チャットレディ求人情報が良いみたいです。マル秘サイト40代子持ち主婦でも大丈夫♪ですよ!凄い人気の20代女性に人気 高収入仕事が参考になりました♪おすすめ優良素人でも稼げる携帯チャットレディです。人気サイトノンアダルトでも稼げる携帯メールレディを見ました。皆さんにお勧めしたい1日2万以上稼げる ライブチャットレディにいこう。ココ→主婦でも月30万以上稼げるを参考に人気急上昇中のフリーターでも時給4000円以上稼げるを参考に人気の育児中の主婦でも月30万以上稼げるはとてもよろしいと思いました。役立つ時間自由☆稼げる携帯メールレディーに移動、見ないと損する1日2万以上のチャットレディが1番良かったです!!人気サイト話すだけで稼げる携帯チャットレディーはすごく良かった、