1995 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Nick Morgan <nmorgan@igc.org>
Date: 22 Nov 1995 17:23:51
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: FOIA Lawsuit: Env Impact of Ft Huachuca Expansion
Posting from "Nick Morgan" <nmorgan@igc.org>
Subject: FOIA Lawsuit: Env Impact of Ft Huachuca Expansion

Posting from silver@indirect.com (Robin Silver)
Subject: fight for San Pedro continues

Southwest Center for Biological Diversity

News Release, November 20, 1995

Quest to End BRAC Cover-up Continues

Lawsuit filed against DoD, Army for BRAC '95 info

 A lawsuit has been filed by the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity
(SWCBD) in U.S. Federal District Court against the U.S. Department of
Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Army for violating the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA). The lawsuit resulted because DoD and the Army refuse to supply
information to the public as required by law.
 On March 1, 1995, under FOIA law, SWCBD asked the DoD and the Army to
provide all documentation, concerning the increasing effects of expanding
Ft. Huachuca on the pumping of ground water from the San Pedro River
aquifer, used by the Secretary of Defense and submitted to the Base
Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission to make the decision to continue
the expansion of Ft. Huachuca.
 The latest San Pedro River hydrological data reveals that there has been an
approximately 67% decrease in the low flows of the San Pedro River from 1943
through 1992. The low flows in the San Pedro River are now approximately
one cubic foot per second. Decreasing flows are directly related to excess
ground water pumping from Ft. Huachuca and its dependent population locally.
 A similar information request made on July 20, 1994, for information
supplied to the BRAC '91 and BRAC '93 Commissions, revealed that DoD and the
Army had covered-up the deleterious effects of the base's expansion on the
San Pedro River from the BRAC Commissions during both 1991 and 1993. In
fact, the Army and the DOD submitted no information to the BRAC Commissions
in 1991 or 1993 to inform either Commission that the base is a serious
threat to the San Pedro.
 The pattern of violations of law by the DoD and the Army in order to avoid
an admission of Ft. Huachuca's continuing and increasingly destructive
effects on the San Pedro continues. Recently, on August 30, 1995, the U.S.
Federal District Court recognized such similarly inappropriate and unlawful
behavior by DoD and the Army:

"...This Court is convinced that the Defendants' cumulative impact analysis
was incomplete, as a matter of law. The pertinent regulations explicitly
require that the effects of growth generated by an agency action be
contemplated and that potential impacts be discussed in relation to their
magnitude. It is hard to imagine anything more obvious than the impact of
Sierra Vista's continued growth on the nearby San Pedro River and the
federally protected and managed Riparian Area and species there. This Court
finds that the Army's FSEIS fails to satisfy the requirements of the NEPA as
it fails to supply cumulative impact analysis on the River, the Riparian
Area, and the associated ecosystem. The uniqueness and close proximity of
the River and the Riparian Area and the magnitude of the possible impact
mandates a more comprehensive and detailed investigation which the Army has
failed to perform despite the fact that regulation requires environmental
impacts to be discussed in proportion to their significance. 40 C.F.R.
Section 1502.2 (b). Failure to address these major areas frustrates the
intent of NEPA to promote informed decision making. In reaching this
determination, the Court is not substituting its own judgment for that of an
agency, but limiting its review to an observance that the agency has failed
to consider the environmental consequences of its action. Adler v. Lewis,
675 F.2d 1085, 1096 (9th Cir. 1982). [MEMORANDUM OPINION, Alfredo C.
Marquez, Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, et al., v. William J.
Perry, et al., CIV 94-598 TUC ACM, August 30, 1995]

For info: Kieran Suckling, SWCBD Director, (520) 733 1391
 Robin Silver, M.D., SWCBD Conservation Chairman, (602) 246 4170
 Jay Tutchton, Esq., Earthlaw, (303) 871 6985

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