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NAACP v. Wilmington Medical Ctr., Inc.

Citation: 8 ELR 20699
No. No. 77-2369, 584 F.2d 619/(3d Cir., 08/18/1978) Aff'd

The court affirms the ruling below, 8 ELR 20012, that the approval by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, pursuant to § 1122 of the Social Security Act, of defendant's proposed modification of its hospital facilities is not a major federal action within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Secretary's approval is required only to assure that federal payments to patients of the facility will not be withheld because of lack of need for the modification; the Secretary has no direct authority over construction of the project, and no federal financial assistance is involved. The Secretary's limited role thus does not constitute a major federal action under NEPA, making it unnecessary to consider the separate question whether the project will result in significant adverse environmental effects.

A concurrence agrees with the result but on the reasoning that NEPA does not require an environmental impact statement where the federal action in question is purely ministerial in nature.

Counsel are listed at 8 ELR 20012.

For himself, Hunter and Higginbotham, JJ.