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US court denies environmental groups’ motion to enforce order

THE federal court has denied a motion of four environmental groups that would enforce the court’s Feb. 12, 2018 order that the Department of Defense add four documents to the administrative record regarding its decision to relocate 5,000 U.S. Marines to Guam from Okinawa.

The environmental groups are the Tinian Women’s Association, the Guardians of Gani, Pagan Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity. Their motion was denied without prejudice by District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona.

The judge said she issued her decision after reviewing the motion and authorities cited and considering how the case has proceeded, including the matters discussed at the Feb. 23, 2018 status conference.

The environmental groups, through attorneys David L Henkin and Kimberlyn K. King-Hinds, have asked the court to order the Navy to immediately begin the process of identifying, compiling and reviewing the missing documents, so that the defendants will be in a position to meet the court’s March 14, 2018 deadline to complete the administrative record.

On Feb. 12, 2018, Judge Manglona granted the group’s request to take judicial notice and motion to complete the administrative record certified to contain all documents directly or indirectly considered by the Navy in reaching a final environmental impact statement.

Judge Manglona directed the Navy to compete the administrative record within 30 days of the issued order.

The environmental groups claim that the DoD has violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In an earlier decision, Judge Manglona dismissed the claim that the Navy should have considered alternate stationing and training locations for the Marines relocating from Okinawa as part of an agreement with Japan.

The DoD said the lawsuit should be dismissed on the grounds that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. Moreover, the lawsuit presents a political question because the executive branch decided to relocate the Marines as part of a treaty negotiated with Japan, the DoD stated.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102723-us-court-denies-environmental-groups-motion-to-enforce-order

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