MUCKLESHOOT INDIAN TRIBE v. HALL No. C88-384Z.
698 F.Supp. 1504 (1988)
MUCKLESHOOT INDIAN TRIBE and Suquamish Indian Tribe, Plaintiffs, v. Colonel Philip L. HALL, District Engineer for the Seattle District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers; John O. Marsh, Secretary of the Army; United States Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers; City of Seattle, a municipality of the State of Washington; Elliott Bay Marina Group, a partnership; and David M. Abercrombie, Defendants.
United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Seattle.
On Motion for Reconsideration September 6, 1988.
Richard S. White, Helsell Fetterman Martin Todd, Seattle, Wash., for Homeowners, intervenors.
ORDER GRANTING PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
ZILLY, District Judge.
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiffs Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Indian Tribe ("the Tribes") for a preliminary injunction enjoining the construction of a 1200-slip marina, the Elliott Bay Small Craft Harbor (the "Marina"), pending trial of the merits in this case. The Tribes contend that a preliminary injunction is necessary because construction of the Marina would eliminate a portion of one of their usual and accustomed fishing areas in Elliott Bay and thus
The Tribes seek an order specifically (1) restraining the defendant partnership Elliott Bay Marina Group ("Marina Group") from building the Marina and from dredging any material or placing any material into Elliott Bay; and (2) requiring defendants the United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Philip L. Hall (District Engineer for the Seattle District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers), John O. Marsh (Secretary of the Army) (collectively referred to herein as "the Corps" or "the federal defendants"), and the City of Seattle ("the City") to suspend any permit or other permission that would allow the Marina Group to proceed with construction or operation of the Marina, and enjoining these defendants from taking any action to permit or allow any further construction.
Having reviewed the motion, together with all documents and materials filed in support and in opposition, having heard oral argument and being fully advised, the Court has concluded that a preliminary injunction should issue. The Court entered an order granting a preliminary injunction on June 30, 1988. This order provides the parties with the reasons for the Court's decision. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d).
A. The Marina Project and the Claimed Impact of the Loss to the Tribes' Usual and Accustomed Fishing Area
The defendant Marina Group proposes to construct a 1200-slip boat moorage basin at the base of Magnolia Bluff in Seattle, occupying approximately 78 acres on the north side of Elliott Bay in Puget Sound. Final Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS"), at 28. The project site is about 1000 feet west of the existing Pier 91 and fronts about 2800 feet of shoreline. Final EIS, at iii; Record of Decision ("ROD"), at 3.
Elliott Bay is located within two harvest management catch reporting areas designated by the Washington State Department of Fisheries — Areas 10 (Outer Elliott Bay) and 10A (Inner Elliott Bay). ROD, at 43; Final EIS, at 140; Technical Appendix O, at 0-4. The present boundary between the two areas is a straight line from Pier 91 to Duwamish Head. The proposed Marina site is next to the eastern boundary of Area 10 (Outer Elliott Bay), between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91. ROD, at 38; Final EIS, at 212.
The Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes identify the area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91 as a prime chinook fishing area. The Tribes indicate that they fish for chinook in the kelp beds, as close to the shoreline as possible. Final EIS, at 212. The Tribes also identify the area from West Point to Pier 91 as a productive fishing site. Final EIS, at 212.
The Tribes claim that Area 10 is a usual and accustomed fishing place, reserved for their access and use under the Treaty of Point Elliott, 12 Stat. 927 (1855), and that construction of the Marina, by occupying a portion of Area 10 and eliminating a part of their usual and accustomed fishing places, would irrevocably deny them their federally-protected right of access to this area. The Muckleshoot Tribe indicates that it first notified the developer of its opposition to the Marina in 1983. Administrative Record, at E-371.
The Corps, in its Record of Decision ("ROD"), states that the Marina would eliminate about 130 acres of the area between West Point and Pier 91, about 70 acres of which the Tribes presently use for net retrieval of fish. Final EIS, at 212. According to the Corps, the area to be eliminated represents about 6% of the chinook fishing area from West Point to Pier 91, and about 27% of the prime chinook fishing area between Four Mile Rock and Pier 91. ROD, at 38; Final EIS, at 212, Figure 35. In contrast, the Tribes estimate
The Final EIS states that the Tribes' salmon fishing is limited to a few areas within the combined usual and accustomed fishing places, for numerous reasons, including fishing conditions and interference from traffic in Puget Sound. Final EIS, at 136. The Corps identifies seven major areas of concentrated commercial fishing activity by the Tribes in central Puget Sound, including the area from West Point to Pier 91. Final EIS, at 136; see also Amended Record of Decision ("AROD"), at 50-51. Three of these Puget Sound fishing areas are in Elliott Bay: the area offshore Magnolia Bluff between Pier 91 and Four Mile Rock, where the Marina is to be built; the mouth of the Duwamish; and the area between Duwamish Head and Alki Point. However, the Tribes contend that difficulties with the latter two areas make the first area more important to their fishing. See AROD, at 27; Hatch Declaration, paras. 32-33. The Tribes contend that the area between Pier 91 and Four Mile Rock is "by far the most productive" of the three areas, that fishing in this area is important to their livelihood, subsistence, and culture, and that there are few places other than Elliott Bay where they can now fish for chinook salmon because of conservation and allocation concerns. Hatch Declaration, para. 25. The Corps recognizes that "available fishing places have shrunk through development of Seattle's shoreline. Due to this, the Four Mile Rock to Pier 91 area may well have importance now that it did not have at treaty times." AROD, at 49.
The Corps estimates that the proposed development will cause the Tribes financial loss in the amount of $9,335 in lost annual harvest and a $3,745 minimum average annual increase in gear loss (as a result of increased boat traffic). Final EIS, at 214-16. Another estimate by the Corps provides a range of loss from $25,000 to $40,000. Administrative Record, at H-110. The Tribes calculate the possible loss to Indian fishers as a result of the development to be over $255,000 annually (based on a partial accounting of impacts). Meyer Declaration, para. 4.
B. History of the Permit Process
The Marina Group began applying for permits from the City of Seattle and the United States Army Corps of Engineers
On May 19, 1983, the Marina Group applied to the Corps for a permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. § 403, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977, 33 U.S.C. § 1344, to develop a small craft harbor and marina for approximately 1200 boats. ROD, at 3. The primary purpose and benefit of the Marina would be to meet a documented need for moorage space in King County, a need which is expected to increase during the next decade. Final EIS, at 6, 23 et seq. On June 6, 1983, the Seattle District of the Army Corps of Engineers issued an initial Public Notice of Application for Permit. Final EIS, at 269; ROD, at 3-4.
In light of comments received on the revised proposal from the concerned public, the Tribes, and environmental reviewing agencies, the project was again modified and a new public notice issued on August 15, 1986. ROD, at 4. The NEPA Final EIS was published in January 1987. On July 24, 1987, the Corps issued the Record of Decision and permit for the proposed Marina. By this time, the Corps had held additional meetings and discussions and reviewed a substantial amount of documentation and comments. The ROD explains the District Engineer's reasoning, summarizes public comment and his responses, and sets forth his conclusions.
The permit included special permit conditions ("SPCs") to mitigate some impacts of the Marina on the Tribes' treaty fishing rights. ROD, at 38-40; AROD, at 1-4 (text of SPCs). Some of the conditions allowed the Tribes to fish under specific circumstances within the Marina. For example, SPC "a" required the Marina Group to provide at least two set net locations within the Marina for the Tribes and SPC "d" allowed the Tribes to attach nets to the outside of the breakwater. ROD, at 38-39. The District Engineer determined that the positive aspects of the project far out-weighed the negative aspects and that, considering the mitigation measures in the ROD, there would be no abrogation of Indian treaty fishing rights. ROD, at 50.
On July 28, 1987, the Muckleshoot Tribe filed a lawsuit, Muckleshoot v. Hall, No. C87-1013C, concerning issuance of the permit, and on August 20, 1987, the Tribe filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The Suquamish Tribe intervened in that lawsuit. On August 31, 1987, the federal defendants suspended the Marina permit to allow further public comment on the mitigation measures required by the SPCs that were not previously available for public comment, and for discussion concerning the "related controversy" and lawsuit. AROD, at 1.
On September 4, 1987 the Corps issued a public notice to allow comment on the permit conditions. AROD, at 1. The Tribes and the Department of the Interior objected to the special conditions for specific reasons well documented in the record. The Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, stated, "meaningful mitigation to offset the significant loss of usual and accustomed fishing area can not be achieved." AROD, at 7; see also AROD, at 7-10, 16, 18.
After careful consideration and discussion of the material before the Corps, the District Engineer concluded:
AROD, at 51.
On March 16, 1988, the Corps reinstated the permit, deleting several of the special conditions and modifying others. See AROD, at 36 (explaining Corps' reasons for changes and deletions).
On March 25, 1988, the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes filed this lawsuit. The Tribes then brought this motion for preliminary injunction.
C. Opposition of Federal Agencies
In addition to the Tribes' objection, the ROD and AROD reflect serious opposition by the United States Department of the Interior (the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fish and Wildlife Service) and the United States Department of Commerce (the National Marine Fisheries Service).
The Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, submitted objections on September 15, 1986, and recommended that the permit be withheld:
ROD, at 8; see also Hickey Declaration, Ex. 14 (Department of Interior letter of April 8, 1987, emphasizing that "[t]he recognition and protection of Indian Treaty Rights is the vested responsibility of the Federal Government"); Hickey Declaration, Ex. 11 (Department of Interior letter of July 20, 1987); AROD, at 6-7.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has responsibilities pertaining to the protection of marine, estuarine, and anadromous commercial and recreational living resources and the habitat sustaining these resources. Declaration of Hickey, Ex. 10 (letter of National Marine Fisheries Service). In a letter to the District Engineer dated July 22, 1987, this agency stated:
Hickey Declaration, Ex. 10, at 2. In a letter dated October 5, 1987, the National Marine Fisheries Service repeated its objection to the "elimination" of the tribal fishing area and recommended denial of the permit.
The National Marine Fisheries Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, due to their significant expertise in their respective fields of Indian affairs, fish or marine resources, are well able to evaluate the potential loss to the Tribes. The Court finds the views of these federal agencies persuasive.
D. Interest of Homeowners
Also interested in the development of the Marina are homeowners whose property is on or near the edge of Magnolia Bluff. The area has had numerous major landslides that have left several homes at the crest of the bluff at risk and have repeatedly caused breaks in a trunk sewer line located at the base of the bluff. Final EIS, at 44. The Marina construction includes the placement of 500,000 cubic yards of fill at the toe of the bluff, which would stabilize the area. The homeowners filed a motion to intervene in the present lawsuit, emphasizing the urgency of their claims. After the hearing on this motion for a preliminary injunction, and after considering all materials submitted in favor of and in opposition to the motion to intervene, the Court granted the homeowners' motion to intervene. The Court has considered the homeowners' memorandum opposing the preliminary injunction.
II. STANDARD FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
The basic function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo pending a determination of the action on the
United States v. Odessa Union Warehouse Co-op.,
The Tribes claim that they will be successful at trial on two theories: (1) construction of the Marina will deny the Tribes their treaty right of access to a usual and accustomed fishing area; and (2) the EIS prepared by the federal defendants is inadequate because it fails to discuss, analyze and evaluate (a) mitigation measures and (b) the cumulative impacts of the Marina proposal.
III. TREATY FISHING RIGHTS
A. Probable Success on the Merits
1. The Marina Site is Within The Tribes' Usual and Accustomed Fishing Grounds.
The treaty fishing right of the plaintiff Tribes is established in article V of the Treaty of Point Elliott, 12 Stat. 927 (1855), which provides:
Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass'n,
The defendants contend that the Tribes have not shown they have a treaty right to take fish from the Marina site. However, throughout the administrative record, the Corps refers to the Marina site as a tribal usual and accustomed fishing ground or area. The Final EIS concludes:
Final EIS, at 212.
ROD, at 48; see also ROD, at 38, 40, 41, Appendix A, at 7; AROD, at 43-44; Final EIS, Figures 24 and 25 ("Adjudicated Usual and Accustomed Fishing Places" of Tribes), at 137-38, 211.
The issue presented in this case is whether the defendants can eliminate a part of the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing ground (and their right of access to that ground) under the Treaty of Point Elliott and cases construing that right, without an act of Congress. In considering this issue, the Court has reviewed materials submitted outside the administrative record, in addition to the record. See No Oilport! v. Carter,
2. The Treaty Provides the Tribes a Right of Taking Fish.
The cases discussed by the parties emphasize a broad protection for treaty fishing rights. See, e.g. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 679, 99 S.Ct. at 3071, 61 L.Ed.2d at 841-42. The following principles in these cases directly govern the Court's decision here.
By treaty, the Tribes granted rights to the citizens of the United States and reserved rights to themselves, including the right to take fish from their off-reservation usual and accustomed fishing places in common with other citizens. United States v. Winans,
The treaty must be interpreted in the sense in which its words would have been understood by the Indians. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 99 S.Ct. at 3069, 61 L.Ed.2d at 839.
The United States has a fiduciary duty and "moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust" to protect the Indians'
The right to take fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places may not be abrogated without specific and express Congressional authority. Although the State may not qualify the right, it has authority under its police power to regulate the manner of fishing, the size of the take, the restriction of commercial fishing, and the like, in the interest of conservation. Puyallup Tribe v. Washington Game Dept.,
The right to take fish at all usual and accustomed fishing places has a "geographic" aspect and a "fair share" aspect. The Tribes' right to take a fair share of fish in common with other citizens does not displace their right of access to fishing places. United States v. Oregon,
3. The Treaty Fishing Right Is A Property Right Which May Not be Taken Without an Act of Congress.
Article VI, cl. 2 of the United States Constitution provides that all treaties made under the authority of the United States "shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby...." United States v. Washington,
The treaty secures a "right of taking fish." Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 674, 99 S.Ct. at 3068, 61 L.Ed.2d at 838. Further, this right of taking fish is reserved at all usual and accustomed grounds. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 674, 99 S.Ct. at 3068, 61 L.Ed.2d at 838; Boldt I, 384 F.Supp. at 332. For purposes of this case, the Tribes have established from the evidence and the defendants concede that the proposed Marina will occupy the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing grounds. The Tribes contend that the defendants' taking their fishing ground in these circumstances is impermissible without an act of Congress. In footnote 22 of their memorandum, they state:
See also Administrative Record, at G-308 et seq.
In Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 99 S.Ct. at 3069, 61 L.Ed.2d at 839, the Court recognized that the treaty should not be construed by the technical meaning of its words, but in the sense in which the words would naturally be understood by the Indians. See also Boldt I, 384 F.Supp. at 334. The treaty is essentially a contract between two sovereign nations, the Indians and the United States, and the intention of the parties governs its interpretation. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 675, 99 S.Ct. at 3069, 61 L.Ed.2d at 839. The Court in Fishing Vessel recognized that access to the Indians' ancient fishing grounds is protected by the treaty. The Court said:
Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 99 S.Ct. at 3070, 61 L.Ed.2d at 840.
As a result of substantial litigation concerning the nature and extent of these treaty rights, e.g., Puyallup I,
In United States v. Winans,
The Court held:
Winans, 198 U.S. at 381-82, 25 S.Ct. at 664, 49 L.Ed. at 1092-93.
In Menominee Tribe, 391 U.S. at 411 n. 12, 412, 88 S.Ct. at 1710 n. 12, 1711, 20 L.Ed.2d at 702 n. 12, 703 (1968) (citing Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock,
In Umatilla, 440 F.Supp. at 553, cited by the Fish and Wildlife Service, ROD, at 8, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ROD, at 11, the Army Corps of Engineers planned to dam Catherine Creek for flood control, irrigation and recreation purposes. The Umatilla Tribes sought to enjoin the project, claiming that it would infringe on their fishing rights.
Umatilla, 440 F.Supp. at 555 (quoting Boldt I, 384 F.Supp. at 401).
Some of these fishing stations on the creek would have been inundated by the reservoir once the dam was created. The Umatilla court found that the flooding would deprive the Indians of their right to occupy the fishing stations and their right of access to the stations. The government had proposed a mitigation program to trap and haul chinook above the dam, but the Umatilla court rejected it: "Whatever the merits of the government's mitigation program, the treaty right to fish at all usual and accustomed stations will be destroyed as to those stations within the reservoir." Umatilla, 440 F.Supp. at 555. The court granted the tribes relief in the form of a declaratory judgment requiring specific Congressional authority before the dam could be built.
In United States v. Oregon,
Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304 n. 6.
Although the Oregon court acknowledged that it could foresee instances in which limitations on the tribes' right of geographical access would be proper for conservation purposes without violating the treaty, in the circumstances of that case, the conservation purposes offered by the States did not justify the severe erosion of the tribes' treaty fishing right. The Ninth Circuit stated that in determining what limits, if any, might be placed on the geographical treaty fishing right to preserve the resource,
Oregon, 718 F.2d at 305.
The source of the rule that fishing rights may be so limited is Puyallup I, where the Supreme Court stated:
Puyallup I, 391 U.S. at 398, 88 S.Ct. at 1728, 20 L.Ed.2d at 693-94 (citation omitted); see Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 682, 99 S.Ct. at 3072, 61 L.Ed.2d at 843;
In the present case, none of the defendants contend that the construction of the Marina and the consequent elimination of a portion of the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing grounds are reasonable and necessary measures for conservation of the fishery, although the project includes mitigation and habitat enhancement measures. No authority has been cited to this Court suggesting that the defendants in this case have rights or powers that exempt them from the above principles. The federal, City and private defendants here do not have the ability to qualify or limit the Tribes' geographical treaty fishing right (or to allow this to occur through permits) by eliminating a portion of an Indian fishing ground for a purpose other than conservation.
Relying on Fishing Vessel, the Marina Group and federal defendants contend that construction of the Marina will not impair the Indians' treaty rights because they can still attain a "moderate living" by collecting their share of fish elsewhere. Fishing Vessel holds that the treaty right to take fish secures no more than is necessary to provide the Indians with a moderate living. Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 686, 99 S.Ct. at 3074, 61 L.Ed.2d at 846. However, as the federal defendants recognize, the Supreme Court, in making this statement, clearly was addressing the "fair share" aspect of the treaty fishing right. The Tribes' fishing grounds in Elliott Bay are protected under the treaty right of access to those grounds (the "geographical aspect"), which is not displaced by the right to some share of fish and is not met by supplying the Tribes with a proper portion of fish. Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304 n. 6. The District Engineer's determination that construction of the Marina will not impair the Tribes' ability to meet their moderate living needs, AROD, at 50-51, even if accurate, does not circumvent the requirement of congressional authorization for such a taking, nor does it compensate for the conceded loss of the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Similarly, the existence of other areas in Elliott Bay where the Tribes may fish, the productive value of which is disputed, does not compensate for taking or permitting the taking of the fishing area within the Marina site.
The Marina Group further argues that the Tribes have "meaningful use" of their usual and accustomed fishing areas when they still have the ability to harvest fish from other parts of their usual and accustomed fishing places, to the extent necessary to attain a moderate living. See Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 676, 99 S.Ct. at 3069, 61 L.Ed.2d at 840. The Marina Group's reliance on the phrase "meaningful use" to support the actual loss of part of a usual and accustomed fishing ground collapses the right of access into the right to a fair share of fish, which this Court may not do. See Oregon, 718 F.2d at 304; Fishing
Moreover, the District Engineer admits hardship to the Tribes in that, even if measures are taken to permit them to catch the same number of fish in remaining areas (for example, extending the fishing season), "there would be an increase in the amount to [sic] time required to catch the same number of fish and resultant increased costs." AROD, at 28; see also Final EIS, at 214, 268. The Oregon case and the Supreme Court cases cited therein prohibit such an attempt to compensate for loss of access by supplying more fish.
The Marina Group and the federal defendants contend that the Marina will not preclude the Tribes' meaningful use of the fishing area because the project will occupy one-eighth of one square mile of Puget Sound, or a fraction of one percent of the Tribes' usual and accustomed Puget Sound fishing areas. See AROD, at 51. In support of this argument, the Group cites evidence that the fishing in the area off the Duwamish Head accounts for 80% of the Muckleshoot Tribe's total catch, Final EIS, at 79, and that this Tribe's most successful fishing location is outside of Elliott Bay. Abercrombie Affidavit, at para. 18.
The Tribes dispute the defendants' assessment of the impact as minimal. Moreover, during the permit proceedings, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Fish and Wildlife Service notified the Corps that they concluded the loss to the Tribes was serious and, as the latter two agencies stated, not authorized by Congress. Even the Corps agrees that fishing is limited to a few areas in Puget Sound, Final EIS, at 136, and that the impact of the proposed elimination will be "substantial." Administrative Record, at H-111 (evaluation dated October 28, 1987).
No case has been presented to this Court holding that it is permissible to take a small portion of a tribal usual and accustomed fishing ground, as opposed to a large portion, without an act of Congress, or to permit limitation of access to a tribal fishing place for a purpose other than conservation. In Umatilla, the court refused to permit an unauthorized taking of some, not all, of the fishing stations which would be flooded by the proposed dam's two and one-half mile reservoir on Catherine Creek. 440 F.Supp. at 555. In Oregon, the States' proposed restriction of treaty fishing would have eliminated two pools in the upper half of the Columbia River zone at issue, and left the tribes access to a 21.6-mile pool and one hatchery. 718 F.2d at 301-02. In Winans, one fishing station on the Columbia River was at issue. 198 U.S. at 371, 25 S.Ct. at 662. In each of these cases, the court did not allow the tribes' right of access to their usual and accustomed fishing places to be impaired, limited or eliminated and did not indicate that the extent or amount of damage to the property right was a factor to weigh in reaching its decision.
In circumstances similar to those presented here, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, recently held that the construction of a proposed marina in a bay on the east coast of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island "would diminish in extent the fishery (i.e. the fishing ground) contractually reserved" to predecessors of the plaintiff Indian band. Saanichton Marina Ltd. v. Claxton, No. 85/2872, slip op. at 2, 11 (S.Ct. B.C. Oct. 8, 1987) (Administrative Record, at H-124, H-133). The Canadian court found that the treaty between the Indians and the Hudson Bay Company, acting on behalf of the Crown, slip op. at 12 (H-123), reserved to the Indians "the right to carry on fisheries as formerly.... I think the words must mean that the Indians will have resort to traditional fishing grounds." Saanichton Marina, slip op. at 8 (H-127). The court concluded that the treaty (the "Deed") protected the Indians' right to the whole fishery, not just some part. Saanichton Marina, slip op. at 11, 14 (H-121, H-124).
The Court finds that in the circumstances presented in this case, the proposed elimination of a portion of the usual and accustomed fishing ground where the Marina is to be built will deny the Tribes access to their usual and accustomed fishing ground,
B. Irreparable Injury
Based on the above, and considering the strength of the Tribes' showing of success on the merits of their treaty right claim, the Court concludes that the Tribes have also satisfied their burden of showing a possibility of irreparable injury to their treaty fishing right. The treaty is "the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby ..." U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 2. The treaty clearly secures to the Tribes the right of access and the right to fish in the area now proposed to be eliminated by the construction of the Marina. The treaty fishing right cannot be impaired or limited without an act of Congress. Yet if construction of the Marina proceeds, the right in this case will be lost.
The Court finds the defendants' suggestion that either the Marina could later be removed or the Tribes could be compensated in money to be without merit. The treaty fishing right is a property right protected under the fifth amendment, and the harm to this right cannot be measured solely in terms of the amount of lost income the Tribes might suffer. Boldt I, 384 F.Supp. at 404 ("the treaty rights that are asserted are unique and the damages which have been or will be sustained are not susceptible of definite monetary determination"). If the Tribes are to be compensated for a taking of their fishing ground, Congress must first authorize the taking. Although the Tribes have no adequate remedy for the threatened injury to their treaty rights, the defendants have the remedy of seeking Congressional authorization for their proposed actions.
C. Balance of Hardships
Having demonstrated a strong probability of success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable injury, the Tribes have shown all that is necessary for a preliminary injunction to issue. Nevertheless, the Court has considered and balanced the hardships in this case. See Chalk, 840 F.2d at 710; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 634 F.2d at 1203-04.
The Court recognizes the substantial desire of the citizens to build a Marina in Puget Sound, the lengthy process that has already occurred to evaluate the impact on the environment and the significant harm that may occur to nearby Magnolia residents if the Marina is not constructed. The Court also recognizes the tension between the claimed damages and benefits which will result from the construction or enjoining the construction of the Marina. The Court acknowledges that the Marina Group will suffer significant financial harm if a preliminary injunction is entered at this time. This is highly regrettable, but unlike the loss of rights guaranteed by treaty and protected under the Constitution, financial harm is not usually considered irreparable in the equitable sense. See Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 634 F.2d at 1202.
D. Public Interest
Significant numbers of individuals are interested in the development of the Marina. However, the enforcement of rights that are reserved by treaty to the Tribes is an important public interest, and it is vital that the courts honor those rights. The Court has determined that the public interest will be served in this instance by granting the preliminary injunction.
IV. NEPA VIOLATIONS
The Tribes contend that the Corps failed to discuss, analyze and evaluate measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of the Marina project on their treaty fishing right. They further claim the Corps failed to discuss, analyze and evaluate the cumulative impacts of the proposed Marina on their fishing activities and on the continuing loss of intertidal habitat. The Tribes contend that these alleged flaws in the EIS render it inadequate under NEPA.
Under the Treaty of Point Elliott, the Tribes are entitled to a preliminary injunction to secure to them, pending a final determination of this litigation, their right of taking fish at their usual and accustomed fishing ground in the area where the Marina is to be built. The Court concludes that the Tribes have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim of a treaty right violation and a substantial possibility of irreparable injury, justifying a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo. Now, Therefore,
IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. Plaintiffs have met the applicable legal standard for obtaining a preliminary injunction; therefore, the Court GRANTS the motion for a preliminary injunction.
2. This preliminary injunction is binding on the parties to the action, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and on those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d).
3. Defendants Elliott Bay Marina Group and David M. Abercrombie are directed to cease all activities relating to the construction of the Marina.
4. Defendants the City of Seattle, the United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Philip L. Hall (District Engineer for the Seattle District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers), and John O. Marsh (Secretary of the Army) are each enjoined from taking any action to permit or allow any activities related to furthering the construction of the Marina.
5. The preliminary injunction shall remain in effect until a decision on the merits of plaintiffs' complaint has been reached. The Court will set an early trial date to resolve these issues.
6. The Tribes are required to post a bond. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(c); Squaxin Island Tribe v. Washington,
7. The Marina Group has begun dredging and filling, and sediment may have recently been discharged into Elliott Bay. Plaintiffs, in their motion for a temporary restraining order, filed on June 30, 1988, ask that the Court order the Marina Group and David M. Abercrombie to halt dredging and filling and to prevent further sedimentation by stabilizing the fill placed so far. Plaintiffs have given written notice of their motion for a temporary restraining order to the parties. The Court DENIES plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order requiring the defendants to cease any dredging or filling unrelated to the Marina or otherwise to stabilize the fill, and sets a hearing for the defendants to respond to this additional relief requested, on Friday, July 8, 1988, at 2:00 p.m. All briefs and affidavits relating to this issue should be filed by Thursday, July 7, 1988.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
ON DETERMINATION OF BOND AND FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on two issues: (1) determination of an appropriate bond to be posted by plaintiffs Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Indian Tribe ("the Tribes") as a result of the Court's preliminary injunction previously entered in this case and (2) resolution of questions raised by the Tribes' motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent the defendants from carrying out any activities furthering construction of the proposed Marina and, in addition, to order defendants Elliott Bay Marina Group and David Abercrombie (collectively referred to herein as "the Marina Group") to take affirmative action to prevent further sedimentation by stabilizing the fill previously placed in the vicinity of the proposed Marina. The parties
The Court has the discretion to impose a nominal bond or no bond in the circumstances presented. See, e.g., People of California ex rel. Van de Camp v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency,
Accordingly, the Court orders the Tribes to post a bond in the amount of $5,000. The bond shall be filed by Tribes on or before July 15, 1988 or the Court's preliminary injunction will be vacated.
B. Clarification of Homeowners' Position
Under the preliminary injunction now in effect, intervenors Baggott, Troberman, Stulgis, Anderson, LaFollette and Stern ("homeowners") are not enjoined from taking any action which they deem necessary to protect their property. In the Court's view, the homeowners' position is no different now than it was prior to the entry of the preliminary injunction.
C. Denial of Additional Relief Requested in Motion for TRO
Prior to the Court's issuance of a preliminary injunction, certain construction activity had commenced in the vicinity of the proposed Marina site relating to the replacement of a Metro sewer line and the placing of fill in the general area of the sewer line. However, further work is necessary to stabilize the fill, to construct a containment diking system to keep the fill in place, to stabilize Magnolia bluff, and to protect the sewer line. The City of Seattle now asks this Court to order the Marina Group to stabilize the sewer line and the fill currently in place, as outlined in the Declaration of Matthew M. Lampe filed on behalf of the City. The City asks that the cost of this stabilization be included in the amount of the injunction bond. The Tribes also request that the Court issue a temporary restraining order requiring the Marina Group to prevent further sedimentation now occurring due to wave action on the fill that has been recently placed. The Marina Group objects to being ordered to take such affirmative action, stating that it is unreasonable and inequitable to require the Group to conduct additional work at the project site when the Marina development has been enjoined and additional financing for the project has thereby been precluded. The Marina Group, through its managing partner David Abercrombie, has stated in open court that it would complete the siltation slope to stabilize the fill that has been recently placed in the area as shown in the exhibit titled "Present Status", attached to the Declaration of Mr. Lampe.
The Court finds that it is not appropriate to order the Marina Group or the other defendants to take any further action in the area of the proposed Marina. The intent of the preliminary injunction is to restrain the defendants from constructing the proposed Marina, and this was the subject matter of the Tribes' original motion for a preliminary injunction. The Court did not intend by its preliminary injunction to restrain the defendants from taking any action which is appropriate or necessary to protect the fill already placed, to finish stabilizing the fill with a siltation curtain,
IT IS ORDERED as follows:
1. The Tribes are ordered to post a bond in the amount of $5,000 on or before July 15, 1988, or the preliminary injunction presently in effect will be vacated;
2. The Tribes' motion for a temporary restraining order and the City's request that this Court require the defendants to perform additional acts in the area of the proposed Marina site are DENIED.
3. The Court's preliminary injunction previously granted in this case is clarified to state that nothing stated therein shall prohibit any of the parties from taking any action other than the construction of the proposed Marina. Any activity relating to stabilizing the siltation slope facing, stabilizing or covering the Metro sewer line or otherwise taking any action described in the alternatives set forth in the Lampe Declaration is permitted.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the motion of defendants the City of Seattle, Elliott Bay Marina Group ("Marina Group"), and Intervenors-Homeowners (collectively referred to as the "Seattle defendants") for reconsideration of the Court's Order Granting Preliminary Injunction ("Order"), entered on July 5, 1988. Defendant David M. Abercrombie, managing partner of the Marina Group, filed a responsive memorandum in support of the motion. Defendants the United States Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Col. Philip L. Hall, and John O. Marsh (collectively referred to as the "federal defendants" or the "Corps") also filed a memorandum in support of the motion. Having considered the motion, together with the memoranda and exhibits submitted by counsel, the Court DENIES the motion to reconsider and declines to vacate the preliminary injunction.
A. Purpose of the Preliminary Injunction
The Court granted a preliminary injunction in this case in order to preserve the status quo because the Court found that the Tribes had shown a combination of probable success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable injury if the injunction was not granted. The Court further found that the Tribes' treaty rights claim raised serious questions and the balance of hardships tipped in their favor. Order, at 30-32; see, e.g., Chalk v. United States Dist. Court,
The defendants seem to treat the Order as a final resolution of the evidence in the record, which it is not. A party is not required to prove his case in full at a preliminary injunction hearing. At this stage, it is generally inappropriate for the court to give a final judgment on the merits. Rather, "[t]he purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held." University of Texas v. Camenisch,
A party is not entitled to reconsideration based on "new facts" or theories which were clearly available to that party at the time of the earlier ruling. Fay Corp. v. BAT Holdings I, Inc.,
Notwithstanding the finding that the defendants have not met the standard for reconsideration, the Court has considered the issues raised by the defendants because of the importance of the claims to all parties to this litigation. In summary, the record demonstrates significant disagreement over the extent of damage to the Tribes' treaty fishing rights as a result of the construction of the Marina; however, there is substantial evidence that some loss of an adjudicated fishing ground and damage to the Tribes' right of access to fish there will probably occur if the Marina is built. Applying the standard for granting a preliminary injunction to the record presented by all parties, the Court granted preliminary relief to preserve the status quo pending trial on the merits of this case.
B. Defendants' Contentions
1. The defendants do not concede that the Marina will have a substantial effect on fishing rights.
The Seattle defendants contend that the statements in the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS"), which the Order cited and relied on, were made "assuming very conservative projections" for the purpose of environmental review and should be distinguished from the Corps' findings in its permit decision. First, this argument implies, and Mr. Abercrombie explicitly argues in his own memorandum, that the Court should defer to the Corps' decision, as reflected in its issuance of the permit, to allow the Marina to be built, despite the statements in the EIS regarding the adverse or irreversible impact on the Tribes' fishing grounds. See Final EIS, at 263, 268. Second, the argument suggests that specific statements in the EIS are less authoritative than the Corps' resolution of the material and its ultimate decision to issue the permit.
a. Deference to the Corps. In the Order, the Court did not reach the Tribes' NEPA challenges, but addressed only the treaty rights claims. Thus, the deferential standard of review for NEPA challenges was not the appropriate approach and the Court did not apply that standard. As counsel for the federal defendants stated at the hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, the treaty rights question is a legal issue which the court decides de novo. Transcript of Hearing, at 36-37; see, e.g., United States v. Winans,
The Court considered the Corps' decision to issue the permit, together with the facts evaluated in the administrative record, including the EIS. The Court concluded that, as a matter of law under the authorities establishing and construing treaty fishing rights, the loss of a portion of the fishing grounds, see Final EIS, at 268, could not be permitted by the Corps or the City or accomplished by the Marina Group without an act of Congress. The evidence presented by all parties showed an actual impact of the Marina on the fishing grounds, but a dispute over the extent of the impact — the injury to the Tribes' right of access to the grounds as well as the financial injury (which alone would not be irreparable harm). See Order, at 4-6.
b. Credibility of statements in EIS. The Court finds no distinction in the federal statutes and regulations between findings made for the purpose of environmental review and for issuing permits. The requirement that all federal agencies prepare an environmental impact statement is set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2); 40 C.F.R. § 1500 et seq. The statute requires:
42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C).
The EIS and the administrative record analyze a substantial amount of information concerning the amount of fishing at the Marina site. See, e.g., ROD, at 38; Amendment to Record of Decision ("AROD"), at 49; Technical Appendix O, at 0-23-30; Final EIS, at 136, 212-14. The conclusions in the EIS are "[b]ased on the information provided by the permit applicants, the Indian Tribes, and WDF ...." Final EIS, at 212.
The Court drew its own legal conclusions based on the record, as it is entitled and bound to do, for the purpose of determining whether a preliminary injunction should issue. The Court concluded that the alleged loss and injury to treaty fishing rights reach the level of probability and significance that at this time the defendants cannot lawfully proceed with the proposed elimination of this portion of a fishing ground.
c. Misplaced reliance on parts of the administrative record. The federal defendants point to specific references in the Order and contend that the Court's reliance is misplaced because those references are assumptions or opinions only, or are qualified or contradicted by other evidence in the record. As these defendants recognize and as the Order reflects, the evidence is conflicting. Order, at 3-12. It is not the Court's function to determine the final outcome of this evidence at this point, but rather to evaluate the probability of success on the merits, the possibility of irreparable harm, the seriousness of the questions, and the balance of hardships.
2. The Order makes no distinction between grounds and stations and does not require the Tribes to prove that fishing was conducted at the Marina site at and before treaty times.
The Seattle defendants contend that the Court's decision collapses Judge Boldt's distinction between grounds and stations. Boldt I defined the Muckleshoot Tribe's usual and accustomed fishing places to include "secondarily ... the saltwater of Puget Sound." 384 F.Supp. at 367. A later Boldt decision defines the usual and accustomed fishing places of the Suquamish Tribe to include "the marine areas of northern Puget Sound from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the Fraser River including Haro and Rosario Straits, the streams draining into the western side of this portion of Puget Sound and also Hood Canal." United States v. Washington,
The treaty secures a "right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations...." Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass'n,
3. The Order ignores substantial evidence in the record that the Tribes do not fish at the Marina site.
The Boldt decisions' definition of Elliott Bay as within the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing places framed the issue for the Court as stated in the Order. Order, at 16. On a record reflecting variations in the assessed impact of the Marina on the amount of fishing possible and the range of harm to the Tribes' right of access, the Court found that the standards for issuing a preliminary injunction were satisfied. The Seattle defendants now in effect urge the Court to disagree with statements and conclusions of the preparers of the EIS, as well as evidence presented by the Tribes, and instead accept certain references on which these defendants rely to show there is no fishing in the vicinity of the Marina.
The Seattle defendants state, for example, that the Tribes' estimate of the catch of fish that will be lost is an inflated figure, 85% of which represents coho salmon catch. Because fishing for coho takes place in waters deeper than the Marina will extend, the Seattle defendants contend that an impact on coho fishing area is not possible and that the only actual impact will be a minor effect on chinook fishing.
Regarding coho fishing, evidence presented by the Tribes indicates that the area around the proposed Marina is a "prime coho fishing area", that the Tribes fish for coho directly in front of where the Marina would be and that the breakwater and the increased boat traffic would probably interfere with fishing for this type. Declaration of Clifford Keeline, at para. 5; Declaration of James Barr, at para. 5; Declaration of Merle A. Hayes, at para. 11. The Tribes' expert, Philip A. Meyer, and the Corps differ in their estimates of the increase in boat traffic. Declaration of Philip A. Meyer, at paras. 6-7; AROD, at 28, 34.
Regarding the impact on chinook fishing, the Tribes presented substantial evidence that fishing in the area has been curtailed in recent years but that when the area is open, it is considered to be the prime chinook fishing area in outer Elliott Bay for Green-Duwamish chinook and one of the most highly valued productive sites for chinook fishing in Elliott Bay. E.g., Declaration of Randy Hatch, at paras. 27-28, 34-35; Technical Appendix O & Appendix III, Correspondence.
The District Engineer based his determination that the impact of the marina on the Tribes' right of access would be "minimal" on his comparison of the area to be eliminated to the whole of the Tribes' usual and accustomed fishing places "or at the very most within Elliott Bay." AROD, at 49-50. This comparison does not provide an accurate evaluation of the impact, in light of the fact that the Tribes do not fish in every part of their usual and accustomed fishing areas and few fishing areas remain available. EIS, at 136; see also Final EIS, at 212; Order, at 28-29.
The Court did not hold that even if there are no fish in the area of the proposed Marina, the Tribes have an unqualified right of access to fish there. At this preliminary stage, the Court found credible and substantial the evidence that there could be a significant loss of the right to take fish from the area, which is impermissible without an act of Congress. See Fishing Vessel, 443 U.S. at 673, 99 S.Ct. at 3068, 61 L.Ed.2d at 838; United States v. Oregon,
4. Scope of Order.
The federal defendants are concerned that the Order is not limited to usual and accustomed grounds and stations where the Tribes actually fish, but could encompass all development within Puget Sound. The Court's decision is limited to the facts presented. Order, at 30. The Court noted that the Tribes do not claim the right to prevent construction of all developments within their adjudicated usual and accustomed fishing grounds and stations, but only where a development would actually interfere with fishing. Order, at 19. The Order thus holds only that the Tribes have met the showing necessary for preliminary relief halting construction of the Marina at the proposed site. The defendants' objection to this decision because of possible implications for other future developments in unspecified locations is without merit.
For the reasons stated above, the defendants' motion to reconsider and to vacate the preliminary injunction is DENIED. The preliminary injunction shall remain in effect pending trial on the merits.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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