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Missouri Coalition for the Env't v. Corps of Eng'rs

Citation: 19 ELR 20581
No. No. 87-1397C(3), 678 F. Supp. 790/27 ERC 1822/(E.D. Mo., 01/08/1988)

The court holds that the Corps of Engineers' decision not to revoke, suspend, or modify a Federal Water Pollution Control Act § 404 permit for a commercial project near St. Louis after the project was modified to substitute a domed football stadium for some of the originally planned facilities was reasonable. The court first rejects plaintiffs' challenge to the Corps' decision not to prepare an environmental impact statement. The court holds that plaintiffs have failed to make the threshold showing required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that the Corps failed to consider facts that, if true, would constitute a substantial impact on the environment. The Corps conducted a thorough review of the environmental impacts of the original and revised project, even though the substitution of the domed stadium involves no filling of wetlands. The court holds that the Corps' decision not to revoke, suspend, or modify the permit is not reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act, since this decision is committed to the Corps' discretion under its regulations. Even if it is reviewable, the decision was not arbitrary and capricious. The Corps reasonably concluded that there is no practicable alternative site for the revised project. The Corps adequately considered potential secondary impacts of the project, including increased traffic and air pollution. The Corps' evaluation of the economic and recreational impacts of the project was not unreasonable. The court holds that the Corps did not violate Clean Air Act § 176, since the project will not cause any violations of the Missouri state implementation plan. The courts holds that the Corps complied with the Endangered Species Act in its permit reevaluation, since the original project was determined to be not likely to jeopardize the existence of the bald eagle in the project areas and the revised project caused no additional impacts. The court holds that there is not private right of action under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA) and that an agency's compliance with NEPA automatically satisfies the requirements of the FWCA.

[Briefs in plaintiffs' appeal to the Eighth Circuit are digested at ELR PEND. LIT. 66030. The Eighth Circuit's decision is published at 19 ELR 20588.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
David R. Bohm, Richard C. Constance, James J. Wildon
City Counselors Office
Rm. 314, City Hall, 1200 Market St., St. Louis MO 63103
(314) 622-3361

Counsel for Defendants
Jean Anne Kingrey, Special Litigation Counsel
Land and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2716

Thomas M. Carney, Maxine I. Lipeles
Husch, Eppenberger, Donohue, Cornfeld & Jenkins
100 N. Broadway, Ste. 1300, St. Louis Mo 63102-2789
(314) 421-4800