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Southwest Williamson County Community Ass'n v. Slater

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20504
Nos. No. 00-5075, 243 F.3d 270/(6th Cir., 03/14/2001)

The court affirms the dismissal of a community association's motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the construction of a 4-lane, 77-mile highway around Nashville, Tennessee. Although the highway has been exclusively funded by the state, the association argued that the federal government failed to fulfill its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act to assess comprehensively the environmental consequences of constructing the highway through a largely rural area in the middle of Tennessee. The court first holds that the case is not moot. Neither the fact that the federal defendants issued two findings of no significant impact for the interchange environmental assessments nor the government's lack of authority to force the state to cease construction of the highway moot the case. The court next holds that the state's work on the highway did not limit or restrict the federal decisionmakers' choice of reasonable alternatives when granting federal approvals for the highway construction. The court further holds that because no federal agency has jurisdiction over the nonfederal project, the federal defendants lack sufficient control or responsibility over the state highway to influence the project's outcome. Consequently, the project is not a major federal action and the district court did not abuse its discretion by deciding that the association was unable to show a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of its claim.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (15 pp., ELR Order No. L-353).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Joe W. McCaleb
Law Offices of Joe W. McCaleb
315 W. Main St., Ste. 112, Hendersonville TN 37075
(615) 826-7245

Counsel for Defendants
Michael L. Roden, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
110 9th Ave. S., Ste. A-961, Nashville TN 37203
(615) 736-5151