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Realty Income Trust v. Eckerd

Citation: 7 ELR 20541
No. No. 76-1062, 564 F.2d 447/10 ERC 1342/(D.C. Cir., 06/29/1977)

The General Services Administration was required to file an environmental impact statement (EIS) at the time it submitted a prospectus for leasing a new federal office building for approval by two congressional committees. The court declines to remand the case for a decree of injunctive relief, however, because the necessary impact statements, adequate except for being filed after the prospectus was submitted and approved, have in fact been prepared and publicly issued. Presentation of a prospectus to the House and Senate Public Works Committees under the Public Buildings Act constitutes a proposal for legislation within the meaning of § 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court notes that no further legislative authorization beyond approval by both committees is required before the agency can proceed with the leasing arrangement. The prospectus also represents a recommendation on a proposal for major federal action, and this serves as an additional ground for requiring preparation of a NEPA statement prior to submission of the prospectus to the committees. Nevertheless, the injunctive relief against construction usually granted when NEPA violations are found would be inappropriate in this case. There is no allegation that the impact statements here are inadequate, and the final EIS was prepared and released to the public before any construction was actually begun on the building. Construction therefore did not commence and is not proceeding in ignorance of possible adverse environmental effects. Moreover, the final EIS has been available to both committees and neither has attempted to reconsider or modify its earlier approval.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
Edward C. Berkowitz, Joel F. Brenner
Lane & Edson
Suite 400, 1800 M St., NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 457-6800

Counsel for Defendants-Appellees
Glen R. Goodsell, Jacques B. Gelin
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 737-8200

Before BAZELON, Chief Judge, and McGOWAN and WILKEY, Circuit Judges.