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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. v. Callaway

Citation: 10 ELR 20187
No. Nos. 74-1190, -1191, 480 F. Supp. 972/13 ERC 1897/(D.D.C., 09/10/1979) Renewed motions for summary judgment denied

The court denies defendants' renewed motions for summary judgment in a suit concerning Lock and Dam 26 on the Mississippi River. After Congress enacted legislation authorizing construction of the waterway project at issue, defendants moved for dismissal of plaintiffs' claim challenging the adequacy of the legislative environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared by the Corps of Engineers in connection with its proposal for the legislation. The court rules that absent any indication of congressional intent to waive the National Environmental Policy Act's (NEPA's) requirements in this instance, it remains obligated to resolve the issue of the adequacy of the EIS. On defendants' motion to narrow the issues raised in plaintiffs' amended complaint, which was filed subsequent to the enactment of the authorizing legislation, the court agrees that it may not review the alleged violations by the Corps of the Water Resources Planning Act, its implementing regulations, or any other authorities other than NEPA. Congressional passage of legislation requested by the Corps renders moot questions of the sufficiency of the cost/benefit analyses or other materials submitted to Congress in support of the proposal. Under NEPA, on the other hand, the purposes of an EIS are not only to benefit Congress but also to inform the public. Thus, continued review of the adequacy of the legislative EIS is appropriate, including substantive review of the cost/benefit analysis in light of the substantive enironmental standards set out in § 101(b) of NEPA.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Joseph B. Karaganis, Sanford R. Gail
Karaganis & Gail
180 N. LaSalle St., Chicago IL 60601
(312) 782-1905

Joseph D. Feeney, General Counsel; Stuart E. Vaughn
Western Railroad Ass'n
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Chicago IL 60606
(312) 648-7812

Counsel for Defendants
Fred R. Disherooon, William Hill, Mark Sussman
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2716

Counsel for Intervenor Ass'n for the Improvement of the Mississippi
George F. Allen, Jr., Ramsay D. Potts, William P. Barr
Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge
1800 M St. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 331-4110