of their lack of depth or dearth of new information did not merit significant attention in the NEPA reports. See Defendants' Trial Brief, at 29-31. Indeed, regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality require that agencies endeavor to reduce paperwork by, inter alia, affording only minimal attention to issues lacking great significance. See 40 C.F.R. § 1500.4.
Likewise, plaintiffs' argument that defendants should have prepared a new EIS or EA before they issued this year's hunting regulations is meritless. An EIS is required only when an agency is preparing to undertake a "major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2) (C). According to the legislative history of NEPA, the term "action" includes "project proposals, proposals for new legislation, regulations, policy statements, or expansion or revision of ongoing programs." Scientists' Institute for Public Information, Inc. v. A.E.C., 156 U.S. App. D.C. 395, 481 F.2d 1079, 1088 (1973). Council on Environmental Quality guidelines provide that an EIS is to be supplemented if the agency makes "substantial changes" in the action that was the subject of the EIS "that are relevant to environmental concerns." 40 C.F.R. § 1502.9(c) (1) (i). In the matter at hand, defendants have not embarked upon a new program or made substantial changes in the existing program but merely continued for one year the program of stabilized regulations proposed in the 1975 EIS. Therefore, this section does not require the preparation of a supplemental EIS.
Plaintiffs argue that the continued decline of the black duck's population represents new circumstances which, along with "new information" available since 1975, require that a supplemental EIS be prepared. CEQ guidelines state that an agency shall supplement its EIS when "there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts." 40 C.F.R. § 1502.9(c) (1) (ii) (emphasis added). In the matter at hand, the Service had determined that the information developed since the EIS and the 1976 EA on black ducks does not materially change the state of knowledge about the black duck, although it did supplement the 1976 EA. An agency's decision not to file a supplemental EIS pursuant to this section will be upheld if it is reasonable. Warm Springs Dam Task Force v. Gribble, 621 F.2d 1017, 1024 (9th Cir. 1980). The reasonableness of such a decision depends upon the environmental significance of the new information, the probable accuracy of the information, the degree of care with which the agency considered the information and evaluated its impact, and the degree to which the agency supported its decision not to supplement with an explanatory statement or additional data. Id. The decline in the population of the black duck is old news, and the reasons for the decline are still subject to debate. The size of the record created and the extent of study performed by the Service demonstrates the careful consideration afforded to the relevant matters by the agency. Moreover, the Service has continued to provide information updating the EIS by preparing the 1976 EA, the 1980 EA, and the 1982 EA Supplement. Finally, the agency has stated that it will prepare appropriate NEPA documents next year in accordance with its commitment to issuing more protective regulations for the 1983-84 season. For these reasons, the Court concludes that it was reasonable for the agency not to develop a supplemental EIS or new EA before the issuance of the final year's stabilized regulations for black duck hunting.
In light of the foregoing, judgment shall be entered this date, November 29, 1982, in favor of defendants.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear this cite in 551 F. Supp.]
Judgment shall be and hereby is entered in favor of defendants, James G. Watt (in his official capacity as Secretary of the Interior) United States Department of the Interior, G. Ray Arnett (in his official capacity as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks), United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Robert A. Jantzen (in his official capacity as Director, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and John P. Rogers (in his official capacity as Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, United States Fish and Wildlife Service), and against plaintiffs, the Humane Society of the United States, the Maine Audubon Society, and Elizabeth I. Spalding.