Federal judge rules if Coast Guard tries to close Newport helo base again, Fishermen’s Wives can file to stop them again.
Federal Judge Michael McShane has ruled that the Fishermen’s Wives can ask the court again to stop the Coast Guard if it tries again to close its Newport Helicopter rescue base.
Wives attorney Michael Haglund said the judge made it very clear that the Coast Guard’s attempt to unilaterally shut down the facility, thereby endangering the lives of those who would otherwise be saved by the helicopter, is an illegal act because it violates the National Environmental Protection Act. To meet the requirements of NEPA review on such a move, would take many months of analysis, public hearings and expert testimony in court since an appeal of a decision to close the base would assuredly end up back at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene.
Haglund said the judge’s ruling, which also involved dismissing the Wives’ injunction as of next January 1st, also took in to account the progress being made to enact a federal budget that includes the funds to keep the Newport Helo Base open. Haglund has said in the past that the injunction request can be easily re-engaged based on an extensive court record already established in the court.
Meanwhile legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would re-instate funds for the Newport Helo Base, specifically targeted for the base. The bill is sponsored by Oregon Congressmen Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader. Both say congressional passage of the funding bill and it being signed into law by President Obama, should not be a problem.