Blue Ocean Preservation Society v. Watkins : the national environmental policy act and it's threshold issues

Adaniya, Deni
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University of Pennsylvania
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This paper will examine the national charter for environmental protection, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its specific mandates relating to what triggers the key requirement of NEPA, the environmental impact statement (EIS). In Blue Ocean Preservation Society v. Watkins2 (herein "Blue Ocean I ") and the subsequent case, Blue Ocean Preservation Society v. Watkins3 (herein "Blue Ocean II "), issues were raised regarding threshold questions. Threshold questions imbedded within legislative wording such as "major federal action" and "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment" are reviewed within the context of the Hawaii Geothermal Project and the two cases that were heard in U.S. District Court, Blue Ocean I and Blue Ocean II. What precisely constitutes a major federal action and how do the courts define a significant impact on the quality of the human environment? Other more procedural issues that are examined within the scope of this paper are those dealing with multi-phase on-going projects. More precisely, when are agencies compelled to produce an EIS at every phase of a multistage project? How is it determined whether they are distinct acts or whether they are interconnected parts of a larger whole? These questions give rise to "ripeness" claims: if the phases are found to be separate, unrelated acts, then at what point is the act sufficiently tangible to trigger an impact statement?
Hawaii Geothermal Project, public policy, environmental, NEPA, Blue Ocean Preservation Society, Puna, Big Island, Hawaii, Kilauea
Adaniya D. 1992. Blue Ocean Preservation Society v. Watkins: the National Environmental Policy Act and Its Threshold Issues.
38 pages
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