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Airport Impact Relief, Inc. v. Wykle

Citation: 30 ELR 20109
No. No. 99-1469, 192 F.3d 197/(1st Cir., 10/01/1999)

The court holds that the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it approved revised plans for the construction of an air-port highway without conducting a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). A citizen group claimed that the FHwA failed to assess the significant environmental effects of highway relocation, airport expansion, airport redesign, and increased noise from highway elevation. The court first holds that the district court applied the correct standard for determining whether the FHwA was required to prepare an SEIS for the revised construction. The court next holds that the FHwA properly considered the revised project's environmental effects and found that those effects were not significant enough to require an SEIS. The group did not establish that airport expansion was reasonably foreseeable. Any possible airport expansion is contingent on several events that may or may not occur. These contingencies render any possibility of airport expansion speculative. Further, the FHwA's evaluation of the significance and consequences of the revised plans on a railroad station satisfied NEPA. Moreover, the FHwA properly evaluated the effects of elevating a portion of the highway.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Peter L. Koff
McGowan, Engel, Tucker & Schultz
125 High St., Boston MA 02110
(617) 951-9980

Counsel for Defendants
Jennifer Zacks, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
9200 U.S. CtHse.
One Courthouse Way, Boston MA 02210
(617) 748-3100

Before Lipez and Fuste,* JJ.