Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

South Pasadena, City of v. Goldschmidt

Citation: 11 ELR 20102
No. Nos. 79-3189 et al., 637 F.2d 677/15 ERC 1825/(9th Cir., 01/23/1981)

The court rules that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) acted within the scope of its authority under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in selecting an alternative to a highway segment in the final environmental impact statement (EIS). Pursuant to a district court order Caltrans had prepared a draft EIS and a final EIS.The final EIA differed from the draft EIS in that it favored the adoption of a 1.6-mile alternate proposal to the six-mile project addressed in the draft EIS. When the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) would not approve the alternative, intervenors sought to modify the order to require its approval by FHWA and state agencies before construction. The court rules that neither the National Environmental Policy Act nor the Federal-Aid Highway Act require FHWA to approve a final EIS prior to approving a project. In addition, the Highway Act does not preclude a state from altering a project in response to environmental impacts. The court also rules that under state law, although the California TransportationCommission has authority to locate state highways, Caltrans is responsible for selection and planning of specific projects. As the "lead agency," Caltrans is required under CEQA to consider alternatives and mitigate adverse impacts, which necessarily includes the power to select an alternate project.

Counsel for Appellants
Alletta d'A. Belin
Center for Law in the Public Interest
10203 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90067
(213) 879-5588

Counsel for Defendants
Dzintra I. Javans, Ass't U.S. Attorney
312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 688-2400

Counsel for Intervenor City of Pasadena
Evelyn M. Finn, City Attorney
202 City Hall, Pasadena CA 91109
(213) 577-4141

Counsel for Intervenor City of Los Angeles
Norman L. Roberts, Myrtle Dankers, City Attorneys
1700 City Hall E., 18th Floor, Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 485-6370

Before WRIGHT and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and SPEARS, Senior District Judge.*