The opinion of the court was delivered by: HART
1. This action was filed on August 5, 1974, as a suit for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief by five organizations and two individual plaintiffs against James R. Schlesinger, individually and as Secretary of Defense, and William Middendorff II, individually and as Secretary of the Navy.
2. The action alleges defendants' failure to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental policy Act, P.L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 852, 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. (hereinafter "NEPA"), as well as other Federal statutes and regulations with respect to the development of the Navy's "Trident System."
3. Plaintiff, Concerned About Trident (CAT), is a non-profit corporation, formed with the purpose of taking any and all action, including the initiation of this lawsuit, necessary to prevent construction and operation of the proposed Trident support base at Bangor, Washington. Concerned About Trident has approximately 400 members, about 145 of whom live in Kitsap County, Washington.
CAT'S activities have related primarily to the determination of defendants to place the dedicated site for the Trident Program at Bangor, Washington. Those activities included testimony and written comments before the Department of the Navy ("Navy") at hearings on the Trident Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("DEIS") written comments on the DEIS, and providing speakers at various meetings of church, civic and environmental organizations.
4. Plaintiff, Hood Canal Environmental Council, (HCEC) is a non-profit corporation formed in 1969 and interested in proper management of the natural resources of the Hood Canal and surrounding area. The Council has approximately 325 members, 165 of whom live in Kitsap County.
HCEC activities include the advocacy, development and implementation of environmental planning for the Hood Canal and adjacent land areas.
HCEC's activities have included study and analysis of the environmental and other effects of the decision to locate the dedicated site for the Trident System at Bangor. Those activities include testimony and written comments before the Department of the Navy at hearings on the DEIS, written comments on the DEIS and providing speakers at various meetings of church, civil and conservation organizations.
5. Plaintiff, Friends of the Earth (FOE), is a nonprofit corporation organized in 1969 for the conservation and protection of the natural resources of the United States. FOE has more than 20,000 members throughout the United States, 36 of whom live in Kitsap County.
FOE'S activities have included study of the environmental effects of the decision to locate the dedicated site for the Trident System at Bangor. These activities include testimony and written comments before the Department of the Navy at hearings on the DEIS, written comments on the DEIS, and providing speakers at various meetings of church, civic and environmental organizations.
6. Plaintiff, Washington Environmental Council, (WEC) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1969 with the purpose of securing environmental planning for the State of Washington. It has about 1,000 individual members, of whom about 50 live in Kitsap County, and about 60 corporate members, including CAT and HCEC.
WEC's primary activities include the taking of all steps necessary and proper to secure environmental statewide planning for the State of Washington. WEC also undertakes limited environmental planning activities outside the State of Washington.
7. Plaintiff, The Wilderness Society, is a national conservation society that was formed in 1935 for the conservation and protection of American wilderness. It currently has about 70,000 members of whom approximately 750 live in Washington and 65 live in Kitsap County.
8. Plaintiff Walter Heller owns land in Kitsap County along the Hood Canal in the vicinity of the Bangor Annex in which he lives part time.
Plaintiff Max Starcevich lives in property owned by his wife in Kitsap County along the Hood Canal.
9. Defendant James R. Schlesinger, presently is and was Secretary of Defense and an officer of the United States at the time this action was filed. As such, he exercises administrative supervision over the entire Department of Defense, including the Department of the Navy, its officers, agents and employees.
10. Defendant J. William Middendorf II, presently is and was Secretary of the Navy when this action was filed and is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for the conduct of the official business of the Department of the Navy.
11. Defendant-Intervenor Pacific Legal Foundation is a non-profit legal corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of California for the purpose of engaging in matters affecting the public interest.
12. Defendants have determined to locate the Support Site for the Trident Program at Bangor, Washington. This site, described throughout these Findings as the dedicated site, occupies approximately 7,000 acres on the flood Canal in the Puget Sound Basin, Kitsap County, in the State of Washington. The facilities required by this site include buildings, piers, transportation, communications, power and water supply systems, and waste disposal systems. During its operation, the site will directly employ no less than 4,400 military personnel and 3,500 civilians. Placement of the site at Bangor will result in an increase of approximately 30,000 persons to the present population of Kitsap County and surrounding areas.
13. Kitsap County is situated on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound Basin. The County is set between the Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges in Northwestern Washington. The County, as of 1970, had a population of approximately 102,000, with a population density of 259 persons per square mile. The County, except for one small city, Bremerton, can be characterized as semi-rural.
14. The general comprehensive development plan currently utilized by the County reflects a general policy to direct growth to areas adjacent to the existing urban centers while maintaining the primarily semi-rural character of Kitsap County.
15. Kitsap County is bounded on the west by the Hood Canal. The Hood Canal is a salt water body, on the west shore of which are the Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains. The mountains rise precipitously to their summits from the shores of the Canal. The natural beauty of Kitsap County has been throughout its history and is now a significant factor in the shaping of the lives and life styles of people residing in it. Many of the total number of people residing in Kitsap County have gone there because of the unique location and natural beauty of the County and the life style which stems therefrom.
16. In or about 1960, the Navy commenced deployment of a Nuclear Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile System, denominated the Polaris System, which consisted of the Polaris submarine and various missiles used in conjunction with the vessel.
17. Subsequently, defendants developed the Poseidon missile for use with the Polaris submarine. As of mid-1973, the Polaris/Poseidon System consisted of 41 nuclear powered submarines, each containing 16 missiles.
18. Beginning in 1966, the Secretary of Defense initiated a top-secret study known as STRAT-X, which was designed to investigate strategic weapon systems which could form the basis for the nation's defense against nuclear attack during the late 1970's and beyond. The Study was tasked with evaluating not only the offensive capability of our own nuclear forces, but also with anticipating their vulnerability to possible or projected Soviet weapon systems. The candidate systems which were examined and therefore might be interpreted as being in competition with each other included long-range bombers, hardened silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, mobile land-based missiles, and ship or submarine-launched ballistic missiles. STRAT-X concluded that, were either the current land-based Minuteman ballistic-missile system or the submarine-based Poseidon ballistic-missile system to be replaced, then a hardened silo-based missile system was preferable to a mobile land-based system, and a new submarine-launched ballistic-missile system was recommended over a ship-based system. These recommendations were made in the STRAT-X Study Report, dated August, 1967.
19. In February, 1968, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations established an Advanced Development Objective (ADO) ordering research and development to begin on an Undersea Long-Range Missile System (ULMS), which was the initial name for the Trident System, according to concepts established by the STRAT-X study.* Trident development was established in order for the United States to maintain the superiority and survivability of its sea-based nuclear deterrent force in the face of anticipated Soviet anti-submarine warfare improvements over the next few decades.
20. The ADO established certain strategic design characteristics that would be required for the Trident program, as determined by the STRAT-X study. Enclosure 2 to the ADO indicates that survivability was a vital factor in the selection of the Trident System. To achieve this survivability a the system incorporated the use of a complete logistical support/refit facility capable of performing all repairs and weapon and consumable replenishment. This facility has also been termed "dedicated base." Home porting of the submarine within the territorial United States was also established. The system design would be significantly influenced by the degree of reliability and maintainability attainable for the system components. The ADO contemplated Contract Definition (CD) in FY 1971 and an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of late FY 1976, with flexibility, should the threat dictate, to accelerate to a CD of FY 1970 and an IOC of FY 1975.
21. During the period from 1968-1972, the Navy conducted numerous studies of possible configurations of the Trident submarine and established the preliminary characteristics of the different Trident components. A Trident steering group was set up to facilitate decisions regarding the systems characteristics and its operating rationale. This steering group was composed of the most senior levels in the Navy, including the Chief of Naval Operations, then Under-Secretary (later Secretary) of the Navy John Warner, and Admiral Rickover. During 1970-71, the Office of the Trident Program Coordinator (OP-21) was established under the Chief of Naval Operations with the responsibility of establishing the desired characteristics of the Trident System, and the Office of Trident Project Manager (PM-2) was formed under the Chief of Naval Material, with responsibility for acquisition of the entire Trident system.
22. In 1969, the Secretary of Defense requested that the Navy study alternative means of supporting the Trident System to increase its reliability, survivability, and cost-effectiveness. Planning for the study was initiated, resulting in completion of a proposal for the study in June, 1970. The study, called the Trident Site Selection Study, commenced during September, 1970, and began with consideration of 89 potential sites in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. One requisite for the site, as established by the ADO, was that it be on United States territory. Other considerations were the operational requirements of the submarine, the capability of the base to support the Trident missile, minimization of environmental disturbance and availability of sufficient land. This study was under the Trident Project Manager.
23. Commencing in late 1970, there were a number of highly classified studies done under the Trident Program Coordinator that involved such areas as targeting, range of missiles, threats from anti-submarine warfare, and the potential operating area.
24. The design concept for the Trident submarine and missiles is generally as follows:
(a) 24 vertical launch tubes penetrating the main pressure hull (instead of the 16 tubes in current Polaris/Poseidon hulls);
(b) a larger nuclear power plant permitting the submarine to operate in larger ocean areas and to undertake longer patrols, with the goals of frustrating ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) measures of assumed adversaries and allowing the submarine to be based at U.S. ports, thereby eliminating the need for foreign port facilities and forward based submarine tenders.
(c) a very quiet-running propulsion system, in order to make detection more difficult;
(d) a larger, longer-range missile with various features designed to make it very difficult for ABM's to shoot it down.
25. In September of 1970, preliminary refit facilities studies were initiated by defendants for the purpose of determining suitable Atlantic and Pacific locations for the sites to support the Trident System and to provide cost estimates for those sites.
26. Congress appropriated for fiscal year 1970 ten million dollars for research and development of the Trident Program.
27. On September 14, 1971, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard directed the Navy to commence engineering development of the Trident submarine and scheduled its deployment for 1981.
28. On November 1, 1971, Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird directed further study by the Navy of alternative sea-based strategic systems.
29. Congress appropriated 43.7 million dollars for research, development, test and evaluation of the Trident Program for fiscal year 1971.
30. The Navy's "Trident System" is a further development of the presently deployed Polaris/Poseidon nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, which are a key element of the strategic deterrent farce of the United States. The Trident System provides a long-range program for modernization and orderly replacement of the Polaris/Poseidon fleet.
31. The Trident undersea nuclear weapons system is composed of a number of individual components. First, the Trident submarine, a third-generation, nuclear-powered, ballistic-missile firing submarine (SSBN), which will not differ significantly in appearance from existing Polaris/Poseidon SSBN's, but will include important technilogical improvements. The improvements result in quieter operation, improved efficiency, easier maintenance, and greatly improved survivability in the face of an enemy anti-submarine warfare threat. First, each Trident submarine will be capable of carrying 24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 8 more than Polaris/Poseidon submarines. Each vessel will be 560 feet in length, 135 feet longer than the largest Polaris/Poseidon. Second, the Trident submarine will initially carry the 4,000 mile range Trident I (C-4) missile, which provides significantly improved range over the 2,500 mile Poseidon missile currently deployed. Third, the larger Trident II (D-5) missile, which will be deployed in Trident submarines during the mid-1980's will have a further increased range and payload capability. With each of these longer range missiles, Trident will have millions of square miles of ocean in which to maneuver while remaining on target. This extended range is a particular advantage of Trident. Not only will Trident missiles be capable of reaching enemy targets from patrol areas over ten times the total available to today's SSBN's, thus obviating the need for expensive overseas ports for Trident submarines, but Trident will also confront potential enemies with the need for large, extremely expensive anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces. Trident's increased range allows the selection of patrol areas to take advantage of seasonal storms or the wide variety of ocean-produced sounds to blunt the detection efforts of improved acoustic sensors which potential enemies may develop. Fourth, all 10 Trident submarines will be home-based at a site dedicated solely to their support located at the Navy's Bangor Annex, in Bangor, Washington.
32. The United States currently has a nuclear deterrent force of 41 Polaris ballistic-missile submarines (10 of which carry the short range Polaris Missile and 31 of which are Polaris/Poseidon, i. e., fitted with Poseidon ballistic missiles). All of these submarines were constructed over a 7-year period, between 1960 and 1967, with as many as 13 being built in one year alone (1964).
33. The nation's Polaris submarines have a designed life-span of approximately 20 years. Those submarines fitted with Poseidon missiles are assumed to last somewhat longer, and have an anticipated maximum effective life as an effective deterrent of 25 years.
34. To maintain an effective system and avoid a reduction in our ballistic-missile submarine force, a proven replacement must be available by 1980. Replacement is necessary since the Polaris/Poseidon submarines were laid down with the technology of the 1950s, and, as ships age, they become more ineffective, inefficient, and dangerous. Time for repair increases dramatically, with some recent overhauls of Polaris submarines lasting five times as long as originally planned.
35. There is a program to back-fit Trident I missiles into 10 of the Polaris/Poseidon submarines, commencing in 1979, with completion scheduled or 1982. This will provide increased missile range for these 10 ships, and, by increasing their possible area of operation in the Atlantic Ocean, they will have increased survivability until they can be replaced by an adequately modern submarine force. This system is not a realistic alternative to the Trident. The United States cannot meet anticipated enemy ASW challenges through the beginning of the 21st Century by back fitting technologically new equipment into old submarines which will soon reach the end of their assumed life expectancy, (the newest Polaris/Poseidon submarine will reach its anticipated retirement age in 1992) nor can new submarines be built along operationally outmoded designs. The growth potential remaining in presentday SSBN's provides only for modest improvements in quietness, sonar and missiles. Department of Defense officials have testified before Congress that significant noise reductions in submarine performance are necessary to maintain a lead against anticipated Soviet acoustic detection improvements. These noise reductions, which have now been technologically perfected, are possible only through development of a newly designed submarine. They cannot be backfitted into existing submarines, nor can newer built Polaris/Poseidon submarines accommodate the D-5 missile.
36. "SSBN-X" is an acronym standing for an experimental nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine which the Department of Defense proposed as a research and development project to the Congress during early 1974. Funding of this project was not approved and it was cancelled by the Department of Defense in mid-1974. SSBN-X has never been envisioned as an alternative to the proposed 10 ship Trident submarine fleet, but rather as a follow-on less capable complement to Trident.
37. A dedicated site is one at which all tasks necessary for maintenance, repair and support of the submarine can be accomplished. This concept was adapted from the practice then in use at overseas bases. Since 1960, Polaris submarines have been supported at bases in Guam, Marianas Islands, Holy Loch, Scotland, and Rota, Spain, with ships and facilities maintained at those bases solely for that purpose.
38. A dedicated site is essential for the achievement of the objectives of the Trident System including the main objectives of survivability. The Trident System has a survivability advantage over land-based systems only while the submarines are at sea, so the Trident system objective was to obtain the longest patrol period and shortest refit period possible. The goal set up in the STRAT-X Study for ULMS was an 80% at-sea time, as contrasted with a 50% at-sea time presently realized by the Polaris/Poseidon system. A dedicated site will make the system more cost-effective, maximize the deterrent capability of the system by maximizing the time at sea insure high survivability of the submarines due to short refit cycles, increase crew morale, and avoid degredation of the missiles with associated reduction in reliability and increased explosion hazard.
39. Due to the shortness of range of the Polaris/Poseidon ships and missiles, forward basing in other countries is necessary. This results in problems in terms of our foreign relations with other countries, including but not limited to those in which the bases are located. Homeporting of the Trident within the territorial United States is necessary to avoid these problems, and is made possible by the greater design range of the Trident missiles and submarines. Homeporting Trident in the United States will also simplify logistics, improve crew morale, and maximize the time the ship will be at sea. Transit times to patrol areas are also avoided; missiles can be "on target" immediately after leaving the port.
40. The strategic deterrent forces of the United States are made up of three different elements: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-ranged manned bombers, and submarine launched ballistic missiles. Each of these deterrent force elements is necessary for the maintenance of a stable balance of deterrents.
41. Recent developments which enhance the accuracy of weapon delivery systems have generated concern about the increased vulnerability of the land-based strategic systems. Currently, defense establishments for both superpowers are tending toward increasing the sea-based portions of their deterrent since these are less vulnerable.
42. A stable balance of deterrents between superpowers is deemed imperative if world peace is to be maintained and the relative vulnerability of the deterrent forces of each power is an important element in assessment of stability. The greater the vulnerability of a given side's forces, the greater the likelihood that a preemptive first strike will be launched by the other side during a time of severe political tension.
43. On December 14, 1972, the Trident System was approved for inclusion in the Top National Category of the Master Urgency List, designated "BRICK-BAT." Brickbat is the highest priority category in the nation for procurement of materials critical to a project. The only other strategic weapons system currently accorded this priority are Poseidon and the Minuteman III missile.
44. On May 26, 1972, representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union reached an interim agreement limiting the number of strategic offensive weapons held by each country, including the number of submarine-launched ballistic-missile (SLBM) launchers and modern ballistic-missile submarines (Interim Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics on Certain Measures With Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offense Arms, May 26, 1972, T.I.A.S. 7504). The accompanying Protocol specified that the United States may have no more than 710 ballistic-missiles launchers on submarines and no more than 44 modern ballistic-missile submarines as compared to 62 for the Soviet Union. One of the reasons for the disparity was that the United States policy at that time made it possible for its submarines to be on station for longer periods of time than could the Soviet boats.
45. In November, 1974, president Ford and Secretary General Brezhnev entered into an agreement in Vladivostok providing for an overall limit of 2400 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles for each side, with a sub-limit of 1300 MIRV missiles. The agreement also provided that within those limits each party would have full freedom to provide as much of a land-based missile deterrent, as much of a sea-based deterrent, or as much of a long-range bomber based deterrent as it wants. It is hoped that the present negotiations toward an agreement that will replace the interim agreement of 1972, called the SALT I agreement, will follow the lines of the Vladivostok agreement, and it is also expected that under the new agreement both sides will attempt to move more and more of their deterrent forces to sea, thereby decreasing their vulnerability.
46. The only time that an SLBM force has increased survivability over a land-based system is when the submarines are at sea, hence it is necessary to have a system that will maximize the time at sea. A dedicated site, which maximizes sea time, is therefore essential for the deterrent and strategic effectiveness of the system.
47. It has been determined by appropriate officials of the Executive and Legislative Branches that the Trident System is necessary for reasons of national security and foreign policy. Those responsible for the security of the United States have thus determined that Trident is necessary for that security and a dedicated site homeported in the territorial United States has been determined to be essential for its support. It has not been shown that there is a reasonable likelihood of early termination of the Trident Program.
48. Deployment of the Trident Submarine in the Pacific is highly desirable in the interest of stability in the relationship between the deterrent forces of the United States and Soviet Union. This is because deployment in the Pacific provides a greatly enlarged area of dispersal over the use of the Atlantic and makes detection much more difficult, resulting in much greater invulnerability. In the face of increased expenditures by the Soviet Union for antisubmarine warfare (ASW) detection and killer techniques, it is a great advantage from the standpoint of dispersal of the deterrent to have it deployed in as wide an ocean area as possible. In addition, deployment of the Trident in the Pacific and Poseidon in the Atlantic poses a two-ocean SLBM force, making ASW measures even more difficult and increasing survivability further.
49. During the period from September, 1974, to the present, the threats to the existing submarine deterrent have increased, and the need for Trident has increased correspondingly. It is greater now than at any previous time. Trident is considered to be the foremost deterrent system the United States will possess in the near future.
50. If development of the Bangor site were enjoined or otherwise halted, a time period of up to five years would be required to provide the necessary planning, including an environmental impact statement, for a substitute base. This would result in a delay of at least two years in the deployment of the Trident system and imperil our national defense.
51. An injunction in this case at this time, given the state of conditions in the world, given the on-going negotiations on the follow-on agreement to the interim SALT I agreement, given the perception of the balance between the Soviet Union and the United States in terms of their strategic nuclear forces, perceptions both in the United States and in the Soviet Union as well as on the part of third parties, would have a powerful adverse effect on the ability of the United States to conduct its foreign relations.
52. The environmental protection division of the environmental protection agency of the Navy, designated OP-45, was established within the Navy to be responsible for interpretation of environmental guidelines and review of environmental assessments and candidate environmental impact statements (CEIS) to determine compliance with appropriate regulations. OP-45 sent out a memorandum on March 9, 1971, directing all military departments to review all significant items that could be of environmental concern. It was further requested that for items which could significantly affect the environment, information be supplied to OP-45 based on OPNAVINST 6240.4A.
53. In response to that memorandum, an environmental assessment of the Trident Project was prepared. This assessment concluded that since the weapon system in Trident would have no environmental impact under peacetime operation, no EIS was necessary. It also pointed out that, from an environmental standpoint, the submarine was the equivalent of existing submarines.
54. This assessment was reviewed by OP-45, and it concluded that the assessment did not comply with the regulations in that the five points enumerated in OPNAVINST 6240.4A were not specifically addressed. A memorandum to this effect was sent to the Trident Program Manager in May, 1971, requesting an assessment enumerating the five points.
55. On November 1, 1971, the Deputy Secretary of Defense requested the Secretary of the Navy to study alternative means of providing early deployment of an advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system. This study was a response to recent changes in the Soviet threat and the potential outcome of the then on-going Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
56. In accordance with this request, the Navy did a study and determined that the best means of obtaining an early development of an SLBM system was expeditious development of Trident. Many options were considered before this as confirmed as the best course of action.
57. On December 23, 1971, the Secretary of Defense made the decision to proceed with the Trident Program as rapidly as possible and designate an IOC of 1978. During the period 1968-1971, the tentative IOC of Trident had been adjusted numerous times, varying from FY 1975 to sometime in the early 1980s. This decision of December 31, 1971, dictated by Polaris obsolescence and international tensions, represented the first time that a firm date for the Trident IOC was set, and it represented a restoration of the original schedule as envisioned in the ADO as nearly as feasible. The Trident program was thus timed to produce a new ship that could be available in a rotatable force at about the time the oldest Polaris reached the end of its anticipated lifespan.
58. As a result of this decision, the Department of Defense requested and received an increased level of funding from Congress for FY 1973. Total appropriations for Trident for the year were $ 820.9 million, up from $ 104.8 million in FY 1972. Included was the first funding for Trident construction, in the amount of $ 311 million.
59. On January 28, 1972, the ULNS Refit Complex Site Selection Final Report was issued consisting of several volumes that are summarized in Ex. 177. Of the 89 sites initially identified, 19 were nominated for further consideration, as they satisfied the minimum criteria for a suitable site. These sites were then evaluated in greater detail for their ability to support the weapons system and the operational aspects of each site. A summary description of the characteristics and requirements of the system that influenced the nature and scope of the Trident refit facilities is contained in Ex. 178. Other tangible aspects were also analyzed, including environmental factors. The final report recommended four candidate sites as capable of accommodating the Trident Support mission in a satisfactory manner; Charleston, South Carolina; St. Mary's, Georgia; Cape Kennedy, Florida; and Bangor, Washington.
60. The site selection study was premised on the need for a dedicated support site homeported in the United States, as envisioned in the STRAT-X study and the ADO. Other parameters were the operational requirements of the submarine, the capability of the base to support the Trident missile, minimization of environmental disturbance, and availability of sufficient land. Various IOC's were used until the decision of the Secretary of Defense in December, 1971.
61. Throughout the Site Selection Study, the effects on the environment were discussed and weighed in the decisions The selection process considered such environmental factors as the need for relocation of communities, highways and waterways; population densities; the amount of cut and fill needed for development; the proximity of national wildlife refuges, national parks, historical areas, and state parks; the need for filling, dredging or otherwise altering marshes and wetlands; the impact on waterfowl, fish and hard shell crustaceans and associated industries; the need to build road or rail access; the need for dredging, both initial and maintenance, and its influence on river flows and currents; the impact of spoil ...