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Gloucester County Concerned Citizens v. Goldschmidt

Citation: 12 ELR 20721
No. No. 80-2524, 533 F. Supp. 1222/(D.N.J., 03/10/1982)

The court upholds a final environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for a 20-mile segment of Route 55 to be constructed as a four-lane freeway. The court first holds that its review is limited to determining whether defendants followed the procedures required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in preparing the final EIS. It then rules that the document adequately considers the secondary impacts of the project. NEPA only requires consideration of significant secondary impacts. The final EIS contains sufficient discussion of the effects of the proposed project on the transportation network in the area and on development and growth to demonstrate that they are not significant. Likewise, the final EIS contains sufficient discussion of the costs and benefits of the project, since it presents enough information to make possible a reasoned evaluation of the project. The court also rules that the discussion of alternatives in the final EIS is adequate. Failure to address the no action or mass transit alternatives in detail is not a violation of NEPA where the statement presents sufficient information on those options to show that they are not reasonable. Finally, the court rules that plaintiffs' claim that a supplemental EIS is required is not ripe for adjudication, because the state has not yet presented the FHWA with a detailed proposal for changing the project, nor has it completed an environmental reevaluation requested by the federal agency.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Wayne Partenheimer
Melnik, Morgan & Klein
P.O. Box 170, Haddonfield NJ 08033
(609) 795-2200

Counsel for Defendants
Jerome B. Simandle, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 511, P.O. Bldg., 402 E. State St., Trenton NJ 08608
(609) 599-3371

Howard B. Epstein, John J. Maiorana, Deputy Attorneys General
State House Annex, 2d Floor, Trenton NJ 08625
(609) 292-4919

Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Charles Lee Harp
Archer, Greiner & Read
One Centennial Sq., Haddonfield NJ 08033
(609) 795-2121