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Citizens Airport Comm. v. Brinegar

Citation: 5 ELR 20385
No. No. 74-CV-349, (N.D.N.Y., 05/07/1975)

NEPA becomes applicable to an airport development project which seeks federal funding at the point when federal funds are tentatively allocated to the project, rather than at the later point when a formal grant offer is made. This conclusion is supported by the language of NEPA, the CEQ guidelines for implementing the Act, the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration regulations regarding impact statement preparation, and by numerous highway cases in which NEPA has been held applicable at an early stage of the project. The court distinguishes and declines to follow the First Circuit's ruling in City of Boston v. Brinegar, holding instead that the airport development project became federalized and thus subject to NEPA when the FAA received the local government's request for federal aid. Plaintiff's allegations that defendants have failed to comply with NEPA by waiting until a formal grant offer is made to prepare and EIS thus constitutes a valid claim for relief, and the federal and local defendants' motion to dismiss must be denied. Summary judgment is granted dismissing the complaint against the state defendant, however, because no partnership concerning the project existed between the state and federal defendants.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert J. Kafin
Neil E. Needleman
Kafin & Needleman
115 Maple Street
Glens Falls, N.Y. 12807

Counsel for Defendants
James M. Sullivan, Jr. U.S. Attorney
Federal Post Office Building
Syracuse, N.Y. 13201

Richard K. Hughes Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse & Post Office
Albany, N.Y. 12207

Louis J. Lefkowitz Attorney General
Kenneth J. Connally
Douglas S. Dales, Jr.
State Capitol
Albany, N.Y. 12224

Raymond F. Loucks County Attorney
George A. Maksail
620 State Street
Schenectady, N.Y. 12307