U.S. Supreme Court Protects the Snail Darter (Great Events from History II: Ecology and the Environment Series)
Article abstract: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed an appeals court decision protecting a three-inch fish, the snail darter, which had been listed as an endangered species.
Summary of Event
On June 15, 1978, the Supreme Court announced that it was affirming a lower court ruling that protected the snail darter’s existence and habitat, thus bringing construction of the Tellico Dam in Tennessee to a halt. The battle over the construction of the dam had gone on for more than a decade.
As early as 1936, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) considered building the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River, an exceptionally clean, highly oxygenated river that was filled with fish. It was not until 1966, however, that Congress first appropriated funds for the construction of dam. From the start, various groups" including farmers whose land would be destroyed by the reservoir, fishermen and canoeists, and some Cherokee Indians to whom the river was sacred"opposed the dam. These groups, led by law professor Zygmunt Plater, opposed the dam’s construction by invoking various environmental laws.
In 1971, the opponents of the dam succeeded in halting construction until the TVA submitted an acceptable environmental impact statement under the newly enacted National Environmental Policy Act. Two years later, just as the TVA produced an acceptable statement and the injunction was lifted, zoologist David Etnier...
(The entire section is 1609 words.)
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