Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Los Alamos Study Group v. Department of Energy

Aug 27: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, Case No. 11-2141. Appealed from the U.S. District Court from the District of New Mexico. On August 16, 2010, Plaintiff Los Alamos Study Group filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Defendants were the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the United States Department of Energy (DOE), NNSA's administrator, and the DOE secretary.
    The complaint alleged that the design proposed for construction of a Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (the Nuclear Facility) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (the Laboratory) had changed so much since the original environmental analysis in 2003 that a new analysis was required and that all work on the facility should be halted until the conclusion of such analysis.
    The district court dismissed the claims on two grounds: (1) that they were prudentially moot because Defendants began an environmental analysis after the complaint was filed and committed to refraining from all construction on the Nuclear Facility until the analysis was complete; and (2) that the case was not yet ripe because there had been no final agency action. The Appeals Court ruled, "We agree with the district court on the ripeness issue. We therefore need not address prudential mootness."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Haz/Nuclear, #CA10]
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