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Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council, Inc. v. Karlen

Citation: 10 ELR 20079
No. Nos. 79-168 et al., 444 U.S. 223/13 ERC 2157/(U.S., 01/07/1980) Rev'd

In a per curiam order, the Supreme Court reverses the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Karlen v. Harris, 9 ELR 20001. At issue was a plan by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to redesignate a site in New York City for a proposed low-income housing project. The Court concludes that HUD complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in considering the environmental consequences of its decision. In addition, the Court, relying on its decision two years ago in Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 8 ELR 20288, rejects the Second Circuit's conclusion that NEPA required the agency, in selecting a course of action, to elevate environmental concerns over other appropriate considerations.

In dissent, Justice Marshall rejects the notion that a reviewing court's duty under NEPA is limited to ensuring that an agency has followed the requisite procedures in considering environmental consequences, arguing that the questions of whether HUD's decision was arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion and whether the agency gave a "hard look" at the environmental consequences are sufficiently difficult and important to merit plenary consideration.

Counsel for Petitioners
John de P. Douw
Community Action for Legal Services, Inc.
335 Broadway, New York NY 10013
(212) 431-7200

Allen G. Schwartz, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York
100 Church St., New York NY 10007
(212) 566-4338

Wade H. McCree, Jr., Solicitor General
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2201

Counsel for Respondents
Eugene J. Morris, A. David Benjamin
Demov, Morris, Levin & Shein
20 W. 57th St., New York NY 10019
(212) 757-5050