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Chautauqua County Envtl. Defense Council v. Adams

Citation: 8 ELR 20723
No. No. 73-576, 452 F. Supp. 376/11 ERC 1699/(W.D.N.Y., 05/17/1978)

The court vacates a preliminary injunction against construction of an interstate highway bridge over Lake Chautauqua after determining that defendants have fulfilled the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. Although federal and state highway agencies completed an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the entire highway corridor after the preliminary injunction was issued, the court limits the scope of its review solely to the proposed bridge. Plaintiff objected to the motion to vacate the preliminary injunction on the ground that defendants violated NEPA by failing to review certain essential information regarding the highway's financial status prior to approving construction of the bridge. The court, however, finds within the administrative record sufficient documentation of the agencies' awareness of the financial problems facing the project to preclude a finding that defendants acted without knowledge of such information. Plaintiff further charged that defendants inadequately dealt with unfavorable comments from other federal agencies reviewing the draft EIS on the environmental consequences of the bridge construction. The court rejects this claim, concluding that these agency objections were resolved in the final EIS and that no further objections exist that would require consideration by the Secretary of Transportation. Finally, the court finds that defendants have complied with § 4(f) because there is substantial evidence indicating that no feasible and prudent alternative exists to construction of the proposed bridge over the lake. Because defendants have met the requirements of NEPA and § 4(f), the preliminary injunction is vacated.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Richard J. Lippes
Western Bldg., 15 Court St., Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 884-4700

Counsel for Defendants
Richard J. Arcara, U.S. Attorney; C. Donald O'Connor, Ass't U.S. Attorney
502 U.S. Courthouse, Court & Franklin St., Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 842-3484

Richard H. Thomas
Federal Highway Administration, Region 1
Leo W. O'Brien Fed. Bldg., Room 729, Clinton Ave. & N. Pearl St. Albany NY 12207
(518) 472-6476

Alvin M. Glick, Michael C. Trimboli
Falk, Siemer, Glick, Tuppen & Maloney
2200 Erie Cty. Savings Bank Bldg., Man Place Tower, Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 852-6670