FEIS at 6-27. Nowhere does the document deal with the highway's impact in significantly more depth. It asserts that the "Cuna will be little affected culturally by the influx of population and the economic growth of the region as long as extensive forest habitat is maintained. Their traditional village life and strong community organization will resist change as it has always done." FEIS at 6-28. The FEIS then completely vitiates the predictive value of these generalizations by concluding that if "the colonists are permitted to cut trees without restraint, they will cause drastic alteration of the Cuna culture", and that the "extent of actual changes depends entirely upon the implementation of the proposed OAS land use plan." FEIS at 6-28. The statement does not seriously discuss the contents of that plan or its current status or the prospects for its approval or enforcement. With regard to the Chocos in Panama, the statement notes that they will be similarly affected in the few places where they have started to build villages, but the majority of the "transitory riverine Choco, who build temporary shelters along stream banks, will simply move farther upstream when the pressures of population become too great." Id. This statement too is undermined by the qualification that the extent of the changes will be determined by the possible application of the OAS land use plan. With regard to consideration of the impact upon the two tribes in Colombia, the statement is limited to the following analysis: "The Cuna have lived much as they do today for several centuries, and their traditional life and strong political organization and traditional solidarity have resisted first the Spaniards and then the Colombians, and will continue to resist change. The Chocos will be little affected." FEIS at 6-31.
This treatment does not satisfy the requirements of NEPA. While even the certainty of cultural extinction for both tribes would not necessarily preclude approval of the project, NEPA requires that the agency make such a decision knowingly and with due regard for its environmental consequences. In light of the critical comments in response to the draft FEIS, particularly those of Arturo Munoz of the Stanford University Center for Latin American Studies, FEIS at 12.10, and the predictable pressures for secondary development that will accompany completion of the highway, the FEIS simply does not provide the information which would be needed for such informed balancing and decision-making in this regard. The speculation and conjecture with which the document's discussion is replete are not justified by any limitations of available information sources or analytical tools, and do not satisfy the agency's obligations under NEPA.
Finally, the statement's discussion of possible alternatives to the Atrato route chosen in Colombia continues to be inadequate. When this matter was before the Court last October, the earlier assessment's treatment of alternative routes was found to be critically deficient. The comments made by the Court at that time are equally applicable to the current version, which is not significantly improved; the discussion is still devoted to an analysis of why the shorter (Atrato) route is preferable to the longer (Choco) route from the point of view of engineering and cost. Unfortunately, little of the discussion therein is addressed to the environmental impact of possible alternatives to the route actually selected (the Atrato route). Such a discussion of the environmental impacts of other land routes, such as the Choco route, is indispensable, though they might cost more or be less feasible from an engineering perspective. Accordingly, it is by the Court this 23rd day of September, 1976,
ORDERED, that plaintiffs' Motion To Continue In Effect The Existing Preliminary Injunction be, and hereby is, granted, and
FURTHER ORDERED, that defendants, their agents, officers, servants, employees, and attorneys, and any persons in active concert or participation with them, are hereby enjoined from entering into any contract, obligating any funds, expending any funds, or taking any other action whatsoever in furtherance of construction of the Darien Gap Highway, except as specified by the Court's Order of December 23, 1975, pending final hearing and disposition of this action, or unless and until defendants have fully and adequately supplemented their Final Environmental Impact Statement, in the manner prescribed by law for the initial preparation of such statements, to remedy the deficiencies outlined in this memorandum. In preparing such a supplement, defendants may conduct any on-site studies that may be required to allow full and informed consideration of the issues involved.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
William B. Bryant
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