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Rankin v. Coleman

Citation: 5 ELR 20626
No. No. 75-0008-CIV-4, 394 F. Supp. 647/(E.D.N.C., 05/19/1975)

Primarily because of the inadequacies of an environmental impact statement (EIS), the court issues a preliminary injunction against a North Carolina secondary highway improvement project funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration. Although the project EIS was not vitiated by having been prepared by the state transportation department, the court finds it substantively inadequate in several respects given the ecologically delicate character of the proposed location of the five-lane highway, down the center of a narrow sand barrier island in the Outer Banks. The EIS lacks the detailed, objective information concerning adverse environmental, social and economic effects required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and § 128(a) of the Federal-Aid Highway Act. It also fails to follow NEPA's mandate to study, develop and describe real alternatives to the proposed project, except in the most conclusory terms. Finally, the hearings held on this project under the highway act were inadequate for they took place long before the EIS was prepared or final project design changes were adopted. The defendants did not, however, violate the highway act by failing to coordinate planning with a new state wetlands statute, for it has not yet been implemented. The plaintiffs are ordered to post at $100 damage bond.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Michael K. Curtis
Norman B. Smith
Smith, Carrington, Patterson, Follin & Curtis
Southeastern Building
102 N. Elm
Greensboro, N.C. 27401

Counsel for State Defendants
James D. Richmond Asst. Attorney General
Raleigh Building
5 W. Hargett
Raleigh, N.C. 27601

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Bruce H. Johnson Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Raleigh, N.C. 27611