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Citizens for Mass Transit v. Adams

Citation: 10 ELR 20787
No. Nos. 79-1767, 80-1586, 492 F. Supp. 304/14 ERC 1889/(E.D. La., 06/13/1980)

The court holds that the Coast Guard's final environmental impact statement (EIS) adequately discussed the environmental consequences of the construction of the Greater New Orleans Bridge No. 2; thus the issuance of the construction permit was proper. The court first rules that the bridge permit need not be signed by the Commandant of the Coast Guard; it was within his authority to delegate permit issuing power to a lower echelon official. There was no conflict of interest where the signing official was also involved in earlier proceedings concerning the bridge because the permit was subject to extensive review by other offices of the Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation. As to the adequacy of the EIS, the court notes that the standard of review of the sufficiency of an EIS is the "rule of reason," which requires sufficient information to enable the decision maker to consider fully the environmental factors in order to make a reasoned decision. Under this rule the EIS adequately discussed the no-build alternative. In addition, where there is competing scientific data, it is sufficient that the EIS refers to conflicting studies, thus putting the decision maker on notice of the problems. The conclusions reached concerning air quality and traffic data do not give rise to substantial issues of material fact. The court thus holds that the Coast Guard's decision to issue the bridge permit was neither arbitrary nor capricious and grants defendants' motion for summary judgment.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Peter D. Derbes, Luke Fontana
Derbes & Derbes
315 Richards Bldg., New Orleans LA 70112
(504) 522-8706

%Counsel for Defendants
Carmack M. Blackmon, Ass't Attorney General
State Capitol, P.O. Box 44005, Baton Rouge LA 70804
(504) 342-7013

Hattie M. Broussard, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Hale Boggs Fed'l Bldg., 500 Camp St., New Orleans LA 70130
(504) 589-2921

Louis B. Porterie
Duke & Porterie
1206 American Bank Bldg., New Orleans LA 70130
(504) 589-3557