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Atlanta Coalition on the Transp. Crisis v. Atlanta Regional Comm'n

Citation: 9 ELR 20590
No. No. 77-1921, 599 F.2d 1333/13 ERC 1497/(5th Cir., 08/02/1979)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a lower court's judgment that preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required in conjunction with the Atlanta area's Regional Development Plan for transportation systems.The court of appeals finds that the Plan does not constitute a "recommendation or report on a proposal for major Federal action" within the meaning of § 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In the first place, the Plan was prepared by state and local officials and is not subject to federal review or approval. The only federal involvement has been funding of the planning process and certification that the process complies with certain procedural requirements, both of which involve little discretion and have only indirect environmental effects. The court emphasizes that federal funding of the planning process involves no substantive review of the plans produced and does not imply a federal commitment to fund or approve any project included in the Regional Plan. The court thus holds that the Plan has not taken on a federal character for NEPA purposes. The court also rules that the Department of Transportation need not consider the impact of all projects included in the Plan in a regional EIS before approving any individual project because most are as yet only contemplated rather than proposed actions.

Counsel for Appellants
John R. Myer
1515 Healy Bldg., 57 Forsyth St. NW, Atlanta GA 30303
(404) 522-1934

Counsel for Appellees
Carl Strass
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4427

Before BROWN, Chief Judge, AINSWORTH, Circuit Judge, and CAMPBELL*, District Judge.