Case 23

Montana Wildlife Federation v. Morton, 406 F. Supp. 489 (D. Mont. 1976).

Plaintiffs challenged an environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act by the National Park Service (NPS) for a segment of a proposed road and NPS's decision to proceed with the project.

Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that the EIS was inadequate because it did not thoroughly assess the project's impacts on archeological resources. Plaintiffs' evidence showed that there was disagreement within the scientific community on the archeological impacts.

The court rejected plaintiffs' claims, ruling that disagreement among experts cannot alone invalidate an EIS. The EIS adequately analyzed the historical and archeological sites involved. 406 F. Supp. at 491.

Plaintiffs also argued that NPS violated the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Executive Order No. 11593, and the Council's regulations implementing Section 106 of NHPA regarding the archeological sites. Without further explanation, the court found that the agency had taken adequate protective measures to ensure the preservation of the sites. Id.

Finally, the court concluded that it could not reverse the NPS decision simply because the plaintiffs did not like that decision or because the experts disagreed on the feasibility or desirability of the road. Id. at 491-92.

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