was held on July 9, 1976. On basis of the memoranda of points and authorities, affidavits, exhibits, argument of counsel and post hearing memoranda, the Court, pursuant to Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P., enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, granting in part the preliminary injunctive relief sought by plaintiff.
Findings of Fact
1. The legislative history of the reclamation laws indicates a purpose of the Federal Government to create small tracts of privately held farm land available at nonspeculative prices in areas irrigated by Federal projects. See, e.g., H.R.Rep.No.1468, 57th Cong., 1st Sess. 8 (1902).
2. Members of National Land have from time to time expressed an interest in purchasing excess lands. Many small farmers within its membership have been unsuccessful in finding land available in 160 acre tracts at a price which excludes enhanced value resulting from water projects subsidized by the government.
3. Members of National Land have made offers to buy excess land from private owners in Westlands and their offers have been rejected.
4. Members of National Land, as potential purchasers of excess lands, have an interest in presenting their views to the Bureau in public rule making procedures relating to criteria for approval of such land sales. Exhibit A to plaintiff's complaint filed on May 25, 1976, was a petition and a memorandum of points and authorities, both dated November 11, 1975, directed to and filed with the Bureau.
5. The excess land sales requiring Bureau approval involve contracts between private landowners and potential private purchasers, such as members of National Land. It is with regard to the Bureau's criteria for approving these private sales that formal rule making procedures are requested.
6. The amount of excess lands in Westlands, subject to the requirement of the Reclamation Acts, is limited and this case would be rendered moot in the event the Bureau granted final approval to sales encompassing all such lands.
7. An important aspect of the sale of excess lands is the determination of its fair market value by the Bureau without project enhancement. A recent publication of the General Accounting Office concludes that the Bureau's appraisal techniques should be improved and that written guidelines are needed setting forth the criteria and procedures used in evaluating the reasonableness of the sales price of those lands. Appraisal Procedures and Solutions to Problems Involving the 160 Acre Limitation Provision of Reclamation Law, June 3, 1976.
8. The Solicitor of the Department of Interior has compiled and published opinions (Basic Solicitor's Opinions, January 1976) regarding transactions and contracts for sales of excess land submitted for approval. These opinions set forth criteria and rules of general and prospective applications regarding such sales, but were not promulgated pursuant to the rule making provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Conclusions of Law
1. This Court has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and § 1346.
2. Plaintiff has the requisite standing to sue because it has demonstrated that its individual members have been harmed as a result of defendants' failure to formulate rules and regulations in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act and because it has shown that its members, small family farmers, are asserting an interest protected by the Reclamation Act.
3. Plaintiff has shown injury in fact caused by the administration of the reclamation laws. Plaintiff has shown its interests are within the zone of interests protected by the reclamation laws or the Administrative Procedure Act. Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization, 426 U.S. 26, 96 S. Ct. 1917, 48 L. Ed. 2d 450, 44 USLW 4724 (June 1, 1976); Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 92 S. Ct. 1361, 31 L. Ed. 2d 636 (1972); Association of Data Processing Service Organizations, Inc. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150, 90 S. Ct. 827, 25 L. Ed. 2d 184 (1970).
4. Plaintiff has exhausted all administrative remedies and has no remedy at law to protect the rights of its members.
5. Plaintiff is likely to prevail in a trial on the merits and has shown a substantial probability that:
a) Defendants' denial of plaintiff's request for rule making was arbitrary and capricious and not in accordance with the law.