Plaintiffs, a collection environmental non-profit organizations, sued the Secretary of Defense over the planned naval base in Okinawa, Japan. Pursuant to Section 402 of the National Historic Preservation Act, plaintiffs claimed the naval base plan failed to adequately take into account the adverse impact on Dugongs in Okinawa, an endangered species. After discovery, each party cross-moved for summary judgment.
The court granted the summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The court found that, although the defendants failed to consult directly with the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs did not take the opportunity available to consult with the defendants as well. The court also held the Secretary could rely on the notice and comment process in the Japanese government's environmental impact studies to satisfy the requirements for a public comment.
Always fascinating to see the interaction of the US law with the US military presence abroad. The idea that US Department of Defense could essentially outsource the environmental impact studies to the Japanese government is interesting.