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Friends of the Earth v. Coleman

Citation: 5 ELR 20259
No. No. 74-2755, 513 F.2d 295/7 ERC 1827/(9th Cir., 03/10/1975)

The environmental impact statement for an interstate highway construction project which will obtain necessary fill by excavating a portion of the site of a canal proposed as part of the California Water Project satisfies the requirements of NEPA. The trial court did not err in concluding that the EIS adequately discusses those alternative sites for obtaining fill material which were reasonably available, and adequately considered the environmental impact of the proposed excavations. The statement need not, in addition, consider the full environmental impacts of the proposed canal. Contingency plans have been made for using the excavations as fish hatcheries should the canal fail to be approved for any reason, and an EIS will in any case be required before any work on the canal beyond the highway fill excavations can be done. The fact that the presence of excavations will most likely determine the path of the canal, if it is built, is not a sufficiently significant nexus to the highway project to warrant linking the two projects for EIS purposes, since the canal is to be only 43 miles long and there is little room for variation in the actual route chosen.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Thomas M. Zuckerman
Zuckerman & Sargent
225 E. Weber Ave.
Stockton, Cal. 95202

Counsel for Defendants
Elias D. Bardon Asst. Chief Counsel
Federal Highway Administration (Region 9)
1120 W Street
P.O. Box 1438
Sacramento, Cal. 95807

Robert L. Klarquist
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530