Friends of the Earth v. Armstrong
485 F.2d 1 (10th Cir. 1973)

  • The Glen Canyon dam was built on the Colorado River. Water backing up behind the dam created Lake Powell.
    • If the water level in Lake Powell was allowed to rise past a certain point, the water would back up all the way into Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
      • Due to seasonal variation and dam management, the water level was allowed to rise to that level over and over again.
  • Environmental groups (led by FOE) sued for an injunction.
    • FOE argued that allowing the water into Rainbow Bridge caused unacceptable aesthetic damage to the National Monument.
    • FOE argued that the Statute that created the dam (The Colorado River Storage Act (43 U.S.C. 620 et seq)) had a provision that said, "That as part of the Glen Canyon Unit the Secretary of the Interior shall take adequate protective measures to preclude impairment of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument."
    • In addition, the Statute had another provision that said, "It is the intention of Congress that no dam or reservoir constructed under the authorization of this Act shall be within any national park or monument."
    • The Bureau of Reclamation argued that when Glen Canyon Dam had been designed, it was designed so that the maximum amount of water in the dam wouldn't be enough to cause structural damage to Rainbow Bridge.
  • The Trial Court found for FOE. The Bureau of Reclamation appealed.
  • The Appellate Court reversed.
    • The Appellate Court found that subsequent acts of Congress appropriating funds for construction of the dam had implicitly repealed the section of the Colorado River Storage Act prohibiting water from entering Rainbow Bridge.
      • Basically, Congress authorized funds for the dam to be built to a certain height, even though it was known at the time that if the dam was filled to capacity, water would back up into Rainbow Bridge. Therefore, Congress must have intended to repeal the part of the Colorado River Storage Act that said water couldn't be allowed to back up into Rainbow Bridge.
    • The Appellate Court ordered the Trial Court to keep an eye on the situation, and if it turned out that structural damage was occurring, the suit could be reconsidered.
  • Compare to Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill (437 U.S. 153 (1978)) where it was held that subsequent appropriations by Congress could not implicitly repeal Statutes.