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Green Mountain Grange No. One v. Goldschmidt

Citation: 11 ELR 20079
No. No. 80-265, 15 ERC 1737/(D. Vt., 10/08/1980)

The court refuses to enjoin defendants from proceeding with the construction of a highway in Vermont, ruling that plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared for the project did not adequately consider the environmental impacts of and alternatives to the proposed project. Limiting its review to a determination of whether the EIS was compiled in good faith and provides adequate information for a decisionmaker to consider the environmental effects of the project, the court determines that defendants adequately considered the project's impact on agricultural lands and that the EIS contains an extensive discussion of alternatives. In addition, the court finds that neither a Council on Environmental Quality memorandum on agricultural land impacts, the energy crisis, nor a Vermont Department of Transportation position paper constitute significant new information requiring preparation of a supplemental EIS under Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations. Further, the court rules that plaintiffs would be barred by the doctrine of laches from arguing that defendants have failed to hold public hearings as required by FHWA regulations because of plaintiffs' 14-year delay in bringing suit. Finally, the court finds that plaintiffs have not established sufficiently serious questions or hardships to warrant issuance of injunctive relief.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Harvey D. Carter Jr.
Witten & Carter
109 Silver St., Bennington VT 05201
(802) 442-6324

Darby Bradley
Vermont Natural Resources Council
7 Main St., Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 223-2328

Counsel for Defendants
William B. Gray, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 570, Burlington VT 05402
(802) 951-6725