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BLACKMUN, J., dissenting
The second redressability obstacle relied on by the plurality is that “the [action] agencies generally supply only a fraction of the funding for a foreign project.” Ante, at 571. What this Court might “generally” take to be true does not eliminate the existence of a genuine issue of fact to withstand summary judgment. Even if the action agencies supply only a fraction of the funding for a particular foreign project, it remains at least a question for the finder of fact whether threatened withdrawal of that fraction would affect foreign government conduct sufficiently to avoid harm to listed species.
The plurality states that “AID, for example, has provided less than 10% of the funding for the Mahaweli project.” Ibid. The plurality neglects to mention that this "fraction" amounts to $170 million, see App. 159, not so paltry a sum for a country of only 16 million people with a gross national product of less than $6 billion in 1986 when respondents filed
the lawsuit. This is no ironclad per se rule without exceptions. Had the Solicitor General, for example, taken a position during this appeal that the $7 consultation requirement does in fact apply extraterritorially, the controversy would be moot, and this Court would be without jurisdiction.
In the plurality's view, federal subject-matter jurisdiction appears to be a one-way street running the Executive Branch's way. When the Executive Branch wants to dispel jurisdiction over an action against an agency, it is free to raise at any point in the litigation that other nonparty agencies might not be bound by any determinations of the one agency defendant. When a plaintiff, however, seeks to preserve jurisdiction in the face of a claim of nonredressability, the plaintiff is not free to point to the involvement of nonparty agencies in subsequent parts of the litigation. The plurality does not explain why the street runs only one way—why some actions of the Executive Branch subsequent to initiation of a lawsuit are cognizable for jurisdictional purposes but others simply are not.
More troubling still is the distance this one-way street carries the plurality from the underlying purpose of the standing doctrine. The purpose of the standing doctrine is to ensure that courts do not render advisory opinions rather than resolve genuine controversies between adverse parties. Under the plurality's analysis, the federal courts are to ignore their present ability to resolve a concrete controversy if at some distant point in the past it could be said that redress could not have been provided. The plurality perverts the standing inquiry.
BLACKMUN, J., dissenting
the complaint in this action. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Sri Lanka: A Country Study (Area Handbook Series) xvi-xvii (1990).
The plurality flatly states: “Respondents have produced nothing to indicate that the projects they have named will ... do less harm to listed species, if that fraction is eliminated.” Ante, at 571. As an initial matter, the relevant inquiry is not, as the plurality suggests, what will happen if AID or other agencies stop funding projects, but what will happen if AID or other agencies comply with the consultation requirement for projects abroad. Respondents filed suit to require consultation, not a termination of funding. Respondents have raised at least a genuine issue of fact that the projects harm endangered species and that the actions of AID and other United States agencies can mitigate that harm.
The plurality overlooks an Interior Department memorandum listing eight endangered or threatened species in the Mahaweli project area and recounting that “[t]he Sri Lankan government has requested the assistance of AID in mitigating the negative impacts to the wildlife involved.” App. 78. Further, a letter from the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to AID states:
“The Sri Lankan government lacks the necessary finances to undertake any long-term management programs to avoid the negative impacts to the wildlife. The donor nations and agencies that are financing the [Mahaweli project] will be the key as to how successfully the wildlife is preserved. If wildlife problems receive the same level of attention as the engineering project, then the negative impacts to the environment can be alleviated. This means that there has to be long-term funding in sufficient amounts to stem the negative impacts of this project.” Id., at 216.
BLACKMUN, J., dissenting
I do not share the plurality's astonishing confidence that, on the record here, a factfinder could only conclude that AID was powerless to ensure the protection of listed species at the Mahaweli project.
As for the Aswan project, the record again rebuts the plurality's assumption that donor agencies are without any authority to protect listed species. Kelly asserted in her affidavit—and it has not been disputed—that the Bureau of Reclamation was "overseeing” the rehabilitation of the Aswan project. Id., at 101. See also id., at 65 (Bureau of Reclamation publication stating: “In 1982, the Egyptian government ... requested that Reclamation serve as its engineering advisor for the nine-year [Aswan] rehabilitation project”).
I find myself unable to agree with the plurality's analysis of redressability, based as it is on its invitation of executive lawlessness, ignorance of principles of collateral estoppel, unfounded assumptions about causation, and erroneous conclusions about what the record does not say. In my view, respondents have satisfactorily shown a genuine issue of fact as to whether their injury would likely be redressed by a decision in their favor.
II The Court concludes that any “procedural injury” suffered by respondents is insufficient to confer standing. It rejects the view that the “injury-in-fact requirement [is] satisfied by congressional conferral upon all persons of an abstract, selfcontained, noninstrumental ‘right to have the Executive observe the procedures required by law.” Ante, at 573. Whatever the Court might mean with that very broad language, it cannot be saying that “procedural injuries” as a class are necessarily insufficient for purposes of Article III standing
Most governmental conduct can be classified as "procedural.” Many injuries caused by governmental conduct, therefore, are categorizable at some level of generality as
BLACKMUN, J., dissenting
“procedural” injuries. Yet, these injuries are not categorically beyond the pale of redress by the federal courts. When the Government, for example, "procedurally” issues a pollution permit, those affected by the permittee's pollutants are not without standing to sue. Only later cases will tell just what the Court means by its intimation that “procedural” injuries are not constitutionally cognizable injuries. In the meantime, I have the greatest of sympathy for the courts across the country that will struggle to understand the Court's standardless exposition of this concept today.
The Court expresses concern that allowing judicial enforcement of “agencies' observance of a particular, statutorily prescribed procedure” would “transfer from the President to the courts the Chief Executive's most important constitutional duty, to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,' Art. II, $ 3.” Ante, at 576, 577. In fact, the principal effect of foreclosing judicial enforcement of such procedures is to transfer power into the hands of the Executive at the expense—not of the courts—but of Congress, from which that power originates and emanates.
Under the Court's anachronistically formal view of the separation of powers, Congress legislates pure, substantive mandates and has no business structuring the procedural manner in which the Executive implements these mandates. To be sure, in the ordinary course, Congress does legislate in black-and-white terms of affirmative commands or negative prohibitions on the conduct of officers of the Executive Branch. In complex regulatory areas, however, Congress often islates, as it were, in procedural shades of gray. That is, it sets forth substantive policy goals and provides for their attainment by requiring Executive Branch officials to follow certain procedures, for example, in the form of reporting, consultation, and certification requirements.
The Court recently has considered two such procedurally oriented statutes. In Japan Whaling Assn. v. American Cetacean Society, 478 U. S. 221 (1986), the Court examined a
BLACKMUN, J., dissenting
statute requiring the Secretary of Commerce to certify to the President that foreign nations were not conducting fishing operations or trading which “diminis[h] the effectiveness” of an international whaling convention. Id., at 226. The Court expressly found standing to sue. Id., at 230-231, n. 4. In Robertson v. Methow Valley Citizens Council, 490 U. S. 332, 348 (1989), this Court considered injury from violation of the “action-forcing” procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in particular the requirements for issuance of environmental impact statements.
The consultation requirement of $7 of the Endangered Species Act is a similar, action-forcing statute. Consultation is designed as an integral check on federal agency action, ensuring that such action does not go forward without full consideration of its effects on listed species. Once consultation is initiated, the Secretary is under a duty to provide to the action agency “a written statement setting forth the Secretary's opinion, and a summary of the information on which the opinion is based, detailing how the agency action affects the species or its critical habitat.” 16 U. S. C. $ 1536(b)(3)(A). The Secretary is also obligated to suggest “reasonable and prudent alternatives” to prevent jeopardy to listed species. Ibid. The action agency must undertake as well its own “biological assessment for the purpose of identifying any endangered species or threatened species” likely to be affected by agency action. § 1536(c)(1). After the initiation of consultation, the action agency “shall not make any irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources” which would foreclose the “formulation or implementation of any reasonable and prudent alternative measures” to avoid jeopardizing listed species. $ 1536(d). These action-forcing procedures are "designed to protect some threatened concrete interest,” ante, at 573, n. 8, of persons who observe and work with endangered or threatened species. That is why I am mystified by the Court's unsupported conclusion that "[t]his is not a case where plaintiffs