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Coalition for Canyon Preservation v. Bowers

Citation: 11 ELR 20051
No. No. 79-1-M, 497 F. Supp. 815/(D. Mont., 11/14/1979)

The district court rules that the doctrine of laches bars relief in a suit to enjoin construction of a four-lane highway segment leading into Glacier National Park. Plaintiff contended that the environmental impact statement (EIS) violated both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Montana Environmental Policy Act for failure to discuss adequately the impacts of and alternatives to the proposal. The court rules that the action is barred by laches because of a 10-year lapse of time between the introduction of the project and the filing of the lawsuit. Had plaintiff raised these objections at the appropriate time during the planning stages, the agencies would have addresed them in the EIS. Moreover, if the plans are altered at this late stage, a portion of the $1 million expended to date will be lost.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Steven J. Perlmutter
1021 Fifth Ave., Helena MT 59601
(406) 449-2630

Counsel for Detendants
Allen McKenzie, Ass't U.S. Attorney
173 Federal Bldg., Butte MT 59701
(406) 723-6561

James R. Beck
Department of Highways
2701 Prospect Ave., Helena MT 59601
(406) 449-2584