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Coalition for Responsible Regional Dev. v. Brinegar

Citation: 5 ELR 20432
No. No. 74-2316, 518 F.2d 522/8 ERC 1425/(4th Cir., 06/16/1975) vacated & remanded

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates a lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction to restrain construction of a bridge over public parkland and remands for further proceedings. Construction of bridge support piers on park property and the presence of the bridge with increased traffic, pollution, and noise constitute a taking of parkland under §4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, which states that the Secretary shall not approve a project requiring parkland unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative. An alternative site for the bridge is not rendered infeasible and imprudent because one state statutory authority precludes a specific form of financing. Relying on Citizens to Preserve Overton Park Inc. v. Brinegar, the court holds cost to be generally a subsidiary factor in determining the feasibility of an alternative under §4 (f) for the reason that cost considerations will indicate that parkland would be used for highway construction wherever possible, a result which would violate the congressional intent to protect parkland apparent in the Department of Transportation Act.

The dissent contends that the financing issue was given little weight in the EIS, which concluded that a bridge on the alternative site, an area unspoiled by vehicular traffic at a location requiring a ten to twelve mile driving detour, would cause greater environmental damage than a bridge on parkland.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Ray E. Ratliff, Jr.
Paul J. Kaufmann
Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, Inc.
701 Nelson Building
Charleston, W. Va. 25301

Counsel for Defendants
Wallace H. Johnson Assistant Attorney General
Kathryn A. Oberly
George R. Hyde
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
John A. Field, III U.S. Attorney
Ray L. Hampton, III Assistant U.S. Attorney
4006 Federal Building
500 Quarrier St.
Charleston, W. Va. 25301

Anthony G. Halkias
Director, Legal Division
W. Va. Department of Highways
1900 Washington St. E.
Charleston, W. Va. 25301