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Sierra Club v. Corps of Eng'rs

Citation: 12 ELR 20533
No. No. 81 Civ. 3000, (S.D.N.Y., 04/20/1982) Preliminary injunction issued

In a bench ruling, the court joins the Federal Highway Administration as a defendant and issues a preliminary injunction barring the agency from releasing federal funds for the Westway highway project in New York City. The court first grants plaintiff's motion to amend its complaint to add the U.S. Department of Transportation as a party defendant. Given the substantial involvement of the Department in the flawed approval of the project and the lack of a reason to the contrary, such an amendment is within the court's equitable discretion. It next issues a preliminary injunction barring the Department from making any payment to the project sponsors for the project's right-of-way. Although there are factual presentations still to be made by the newly added defendant, the court finds that plaintiff has shown a strong likelihood of prevailing on the merits in light of the facts found by the court in its earlier decision, 12 ELR 20520. The injunction will serve the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act by ensuring that expenditures will not be made which would result in a commitment to the project before an adequate environmental impact statement has been prepared. While the state and city might suffer some harm as a result of financial commitments made in order to secure the right-of-way, they did so in full knowledge of the pending legal challenges to the project. Finally, the court denies a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking state payments to New York City related to the right-of-way.

(The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (26 pp. $3.50, ELR Order No. C-1279).

Counsel are listed at 12 ELR 20520 — Ed.

Griesa, J.

[OPINION OMITTED BY PUBLISHER IN ORIGINAL SOURCE]