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
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
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
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the dam had implicitly repealed the section of the Colorado River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.
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.