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New York, City of v. Slater

Citation: 28 ELR 21435
(07/06/1998)

The court holds that the Secretary of Transportation's failure to issue an environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with an order awarding takeoff and landing slots to airlines at LaGuardia Airport in New York did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Secretary granted exemptions under an exceptional-circumstances provision of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAA Act) in order to award takeoff and landing slots. The court first holds that because the petitioner city failed to argue in the administrative proceedings that the Secretary's authority to grant exemptions expired, the issue has not been preserved for review. The court then holds that the exemptions are not barred by the FAA Act and are not arbitrary and capricious. The court next holds that the Secretary did not violate NEPA. The Secretary issued a finding of no significant impact resulting from granting the applications, which was supported by a finding that there would be no detrimental effect on air safety, an analysis showing only marginal increases in noise level, and a condition requiring the use of quieter jets. Thus, the record indicates that the Secretary gave the requisite hard look that NEPA demands, and did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in deciding that an EIS was not required.

Counsel for Petitioner
William A. Walker
Office of Corporation Counsel
100 Church St., New York NY 10007
(212) 788-0303

Counsel for Respondents
Stanley N. Alpert, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
U.S. CtHse.
225 Cadman Plaza E., Brooklyn NY 11201
(718) 254-7000

Before Van Graafeiland, Kearse, and Jacobs, JJ.