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Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce v. Volpe

Citation: 5 ELR 20379
No. No. 74-1530, 515 F.2d 1021/7 ERC 1953/(4th Cir., 05/05/1975) Aff'g district court decision on remand

The court accepts as adequate an environmental impact statement prepared primarily by state officials who had both selected the highway bypass route in question and excluded from the statement discussion of an alternative route proposed after the final public hearing on the proposed highway location. The argument that EIS preparation was impermissibly delegated to state officials is held unconvincing on the basis of a showing that federal and state officials had cooperated closely during the thirteen years of planning for the Fayetteville bypass. The fact that the responsible federal authorities actively participated in the creation of the statement and made a good faith review of it is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of NEPA. The court follows the Eighth Circuit in holding that NEPA merely requires good faith objectivity in the preparation of an impact statement, and not complete freedom from possible subjective bias. The summary treatment by state officials of the tardy alternative proposal violates neither NEPA nor the Federal-Aid Highway Act. State authorities gave the alternative reasonable consideration in an intra-departmental memorandum. Since the proposal could have been raised at the public hearing but was not, the state was justified in withholding the proposal from federal highway officials and excluding it from the final EIS.

Counsel for Plaintiff-Appellants
J. O. Tally, Jr.
Morris Chertkov
Dwight W. Allen
Tally & Tally
Suite 803 Wachovia Building
Fayetteville, N.C. 28302

Counsel for Defendant-Appellees
Thomas P. McNamara U.S. Attorney
Jack B. Crawley, Jr. Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Raleigh, N.C. 27602

Robert Morgan Attorney General
James B. Richmond Asst. Attorney General
State Capitol
Raleigh, N.C. 27611