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Presidio Bridge Co. v. Secretary of State

Citation: 10 ELR 20688
No. No. P-76-CA-1, 486 F. Supp. 288/12 ERC 1020/(W.D. Tex., 07/24/1978)

In an action challenging the State Department's issuance of a permit for a bridge over the Rio Grande, the court grants summary judgment for the government, ruling that the Secretary of State complied with the procedural requirements of the International Bridge Act and that plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the permit under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court first rejects plaintiff's contention that Executive Order No. 11423, which was issued in 1968 and delegates to the Secretary of State authority to issue international bridge permits, does not apply to bridges covered by the International Bridge Act of 1972. The legislative history of the Bridge Act reveals that it is compatible with the Order and that the two were meant to be read together. The court finds that since the Secretary of State has complied with the requirements of the Executive Order, the permit has presidential approval required under § 535b of the Act. The court also rejects plaintiff's contention that the environmental assessment of the proposed bridge and defendants' negative determinations were not prepared in accordance with NEPA and State Department procedures. Although plaintiff has demonstrated that it will suffer severe economic injury as a result of the Secretary's decision, this injury is not sufficient to bring it within the zone of interests protected by NEPA. NEPA was created to protect environmental concerns; parties with strictly economic interests do not have standing to invoke its provisions.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Ray Pearson
Pearson & Caballero
Suite 1610, State Nat'l Plaza, El Paso TX 79901
(915) 544-2114

Counsel for Defendants
Jeremiah Handy, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Cthse., 655 E. Durango Blvd., San Antonio TX 78206
(512) 229-6500