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Committee for Auto Responsibility v. Solomon

Citation: 9 ELR 20575
No. No. 77-1160, 603 F.2d 992/13 ERC 1849/(D.C. Cir., 07/24/1979)

The court affirms the district court's dismissal of a suit seeking injunctive and declaratory relief against the operation of a federally owned parking lot in downtown Washington, D.C. Plaintiffs and their members have standing to challenge defendants' failure to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because they have alleged that the parking lot creates pollution and otherwise injures interests within the zone of interests protected by NEPA. They do not, however, have standing to raise alleged violations of the Public Buildings Amendments of 1972 because their injuries are not among those sought to be protected by that Act. The court rejects plaintiffs' claim that the trial court erred by considering evidence outside the record when granting defendants' motion for dismissal, yet failing to treat the motion as one for summary judgment under Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The record shows that the trial court did not rule on defendants' motion to dismiss but ruled for defendants on the merits. The court agrees with the ruling below that the General Services Administration's (GSA's) decision to lease the parking lot to a private management firm was not a major federal action requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement under NEPA. GSA reasonably determined that transferring management of the facility to a private firm would not change the status quo and thus would have no significant environmental effects, and this judgment is entitled to judicial deference. In addition, the court finds that GSA's failure to charge each user of the parking lot for the full cost of the service is not violative of the Public Buildings Amendments of 1972.

Counsel for Appellants
Joel D. Joseph, Paul D. Kamenar
1721 I St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 338-5560

Counsel for Appellees
Earl J. Silbert, U.S. Attorney; Kenneth M. Raisler, John A. Terry, Steven D. Gordon, Ass't U.S. Attorneys
Rm. 3600-E, U.S. Courthouse, 3d & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 633-4964

Before ROBINSON and WILKEY, Circuit Judges, and FLANNERY,* United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

WILKEY, Circuit Judge: I concur in the result.