Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Thompson
811 F.Supp. 635 (D. Utah 1993)

  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (part of the Department of the Interior) had developed an Animal Damage Management Plan (ADM) that authorized Animal Damage Control (ADC) methods that included killing coyotes and other predators in a National Forest.
    • APHIS was doing it to stop the predators from eating livestock in the area.
    • APHIS got their authority from the Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 (ADCA)(7 U.S.C. 426).
    • Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), APHIS had written an Environmental Assessment (EA), and found no significant impact from the killing.
  • Environmental groups (led by SUWA) sued for an injunction.
    • SUWA argued that the ADCs were neither necessary nor effective (and so it was arbitrary and capricious).
    • SUWA also argued that the EA was insufficient because it did not consider a full range of alternatives to killing things or the cumulative impacts.
  • The Trial Court denied the injunction.
    • The Trial Court found that APHIS had a rational basis for implementing the ADC (so it was not arbitrary and capricious), and the Court would defer to Agency judgment.
      • See Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council (467 U.S. 837 (1984)).
    • The Court found that the EA satisfied the requirements of NEPA.