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Cartwright Van Lines, Inc. v. United States

Citation: 6 ELR 20166
No. No. 72 CV 122W-4, 400 F. Supp. 795/8 ERC 1465/(W.D. Mo., 08/04/1975)

The court dismisses a suit challenging an Interstate Commerce Commission order denying a van line company's request for the elimination of certain gateways on its various routes. Contrary to plaintiff's contention, the Commission did not deprive the van company of a fair hearing by applying atypical decisional criteria to its application. The court also finds that the ICC's new gateway elimination rules moot plaintiff's assertion that the agency failed to discharge its NEPA responsibilities in connection with the denial order. Plaintiff has standing to raise this NEPA issue, even though the challenge is based on an economic interest, because the company claims that the Commission's refusal to grant its request forces it to operate over highly circuitous gateway routes, and thereby to do greater damage to the environment in the form of increased air pollution and fuel consumption than if the gateways were eliminated. In a study which preceded the recently completed gateway elimination rule making, the Commission determined that the combined impact of all gateway operations has a substantial effect on the human environment. This does not mean, however, that a small portion of such operations has the same effect. In fact, the Commission's determination that the gateway operat ons at issue in this case do not significantly affect the human environment is strongly supported by the record, which shows that very little, if any, traffic actually passes through plaintiff's more circuitous gateways. In any event, the promulgation of the new rules and the pendency under them of applications by the plaintiff for elimination of the gateways in question effectively moots plaintiff's NEPA contentions.

Counsel for Plaintiff
James A. Polsinelli
Shapiro, Polsinelli, Waldo & Schulte
209 West 47th Street
Country Club Plaza
Kansas City MO 64112
(816) 931-3353

Charles Ephraim
Ephraim & Clark
Suite 600, 1250 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20036
(202) 833-1170

Counsel for Defendants
Frederick O. Griffin, Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Kansas City MO 64106
(816) 374-3122

Lloyd J. Osborn
Office of the General Counsel
Interstate Commerce Commission
Washington DC 20423
(202) 343-3775