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Hill v. Coleman

Citation: 6 ELR 20001
No. No. 4499, 399 F. Supp. 194/8 ERC 1177/(D. Del., 07/18/1975)

This suit by a nonprofit community association and property owners challenges a Delaware highway project for alleged failure to comply with NEPA, the Department of Transportation Act, and the Federal-Aid Highway Act. The court rejects plaintiffs' assertion that any element of the Newark, Delaware beltway has become a federal undertaking. First, despite years of complex dealings between Federal Highway Administration officials and state authorities, the FHWA has not granted the requisite "location approval" and cannot do so, under current regulations, until a combined impact statement/section 4(f) statement is filed. Second, federal funding of the local planning agency which designed the project is insufficient as a matter of law to make it a "major federal action" under NEPA, a "program or project" under the Department of Transportation Act, a "federal-aid highway project under § 128 of the Federal-Aid. Highway Act, or a "highway constructed pursuant to this title" under the parklands statute. That various non-highway projects in the Newark area have received FHWA approval does not change the result, for they are in no way connected with the project in question. Summary judgment is granted to defendants on all claims except count II, a constitutional challenge to a Delaware statute, which is pending before a three-judge federal panel.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Thomas Herlihy, Jr.
Morris Cohen
Herlihy & Herlihy
Continental American Bldg.
Wilmington, Del. 19801
(302) 654-3166

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Alan J. Hoffman, Asst. U.S. Attorney
Federal Building
9th and King St.
Wilmington, Del. 19801
(302) 571-6277

Francis J. Locke, Regional Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
Department of Transportation
Federal Building
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(301) 962-2482

Counsel for State Defendants
Johanna D. Drooz Yoffie, Dep. Atty. General, State of Delaware
Wilmington, Del. 19801
(302) 571-2460

Joseph M. Bernstein, Asst. County Attorney
New Castle County
Wilmington, Del. 19801
(302) 571-4011