Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Citizens to Preserve Wilderness Park v. Adams

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20065
Nos. No. CV 79-L-137, 543 F. Supp. 21/(D. Neb., 09/22/1981)

The court holds that the Secretary of Transportation's approval of the West Bypass highway project in Lincoln, Nebraska, which involves the taking of land in Wilderness Park, was made in compliance with the Department of Transportation Act (DOTA), the Federal-Aid Highway Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court rules that the Secretary's determination that there were no feasible and prudent alternatives to the taking of park land was based upon a consideration of all reasonable alternatives. Under §4(f)(1) of DOTA, the Secretary was not required to consider alternatives that would use park land, but did consider such alternatives as required by §4(f)(2). Next, the court rules that the administrative record contains sufficient data to enable the Secretary to make a reasoned choice among the alternatives, as required by NEPA and §4(f)(1). The court excludes a corridor study from the record because it was not specifically cited in the agency's joint environmental impact and §4(f) statement, but nevertheless finds that the record adequately describes and evaluates three alternative routes. Two of the alternative routes run through park land and are therefore relevant to the Secretary's decision only under §4(f)(2), which requires the approved program to include all possible planning to minimize harm to park land. The court holds that the Secretary could have reasonably concluded that the selected route was the least intrusive use of park land in compliance with §4(f)(2). As to the route that would not take park land, the court finds that the record supports the Secretary's decision and is therefore not arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. In comparison to the chosen route, this route would less effectively relieve city street congestion, would impose noise and visual impacts on a state mental health facility, would severely bisect a school district, and would present design problems.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Karen B. Flowers, Donald G. Thompson
Bauer, Galter, Geier, Flowers & Thompson
811 S. 13th St., Lincoln NE 68508
(402) 477-4458

Counsel for Defendants
Donald G. Vosburgh, Regional Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
Box 19715, Kansas City MO 64141
(816) 926-7563

David A. Kubichek; Edward G. Warin, U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 1228, DTS, Omaha NE 68101
(402) 221-4774