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S.W. Neighborhood Assembly v. Eckard

Citation: 8 ELR 20466
No. No. 75-1073, 445 F. Supp. 1195/11 ERC 1226/(D.D.C., 01/23/1978)

The court grants plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in a suit challenging the General Services Administration's (GSA) failure to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in conjunction with an agreement to lease a privately owned building for federal office space. By definition, the five-year, $11 million lease of an office building to be built to GSA specifications in an industrial/residential neighborhood and the influex of 2,300 federal employees primarily by automobile constitutes major federal action. Review of the GSA's environmental impact assessments indicates that the agency failed to take a hard look at specific areas of environmental concern, to quantify the arguably significant traffic and air quality impacts of the leasing arrangement, or to offer convincing reasons for its decision to forego preparation of a full impact statement. The court rejects defendants' assertions that the case is moot and that plaintiffs lack standing. Injunctive relief against government occupancy of the now-completed building is still possible to mitigate the traffic and air quality impact on the area, and the lease arrangement has a continuing causal connection with these adverse environmental effects regardless of whether the building would have been built and occupied by private parties if the lease had not been agreed upon. The court will enter an order requiring preparation of an EIS.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Frederick L. Miller
Duncan, Brown, Weinberg & Palmer
1700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 296-4325

Counsel for Defendants
Earl J. Silbert, U.S. Attorney; Robert N. Ford, Dennis Dutterer, Ass't U.S. Attorneys
U.S. Courthouse, 3rd & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 426-7511