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National Wildlife Fed'n v. Lewis

Citation: 12 ELR 20054
No. No. H-80-47, 519 F. Supp. 523/17 ERC 1039/(D. Conn., 07/22/1981)

The court holds that the Department of Transportation complied with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Department of Transportation Act in deciding to construct a connecting highway between I-84 and I-86 in Connecticut. First, the court rules that the connector will have independent utility apart from other improvements to I-84 and therefore was properly the subject of a separate environmental impact statement (EIS). Next, applying the "rule of reason" standard of review, the court finds that the EIS adequately discussed the environmental effects of and alternatives to the proposal. The chosen highway corridor was the only one found feasible and the EIS carefully evaluated three optional uses for the corridor. Finally, the court finds that defendants complied with § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act and § 15(a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act. Defendants' analysis showed that alternative highway configurations that do not transverse parkland would be unsafe or unacceptably expensive. Harm will be minimized by replacing lost tracts of parkland with other property and by increasing public access to and recreational opportunities on the property.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
David G. Burwell
National Wildlife Federation
1412 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 797-6845

Haynes N. Johnson
Parmalee, Johnson, Bollinger & Bramblett
406 Summer St., Stamford CT 06901
(203) 327-2650

Counsel for Defendants
Frank H. Santoro; Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1824, New Haven CT 06510
(203) 432-2106

Ezra D. Rosenberg
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-3824

Kenneth N. Tedford, Susan T. Pearlman, Ass't Attorneys General
24 Wolcott Hill Rd., Wethersfield CT 06109
(203) 566-2563