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Lake Erie Alliance for the Protection of the Coastal Corridor v. Corps of Eng'rs

Citation: 10 ELR 20577
No. No. 79-110 B Erie, 486 F. Supp. 707/14 ERC 1405/(W.D. Pa., 03/18/1980)

Interpreting broadly the standing requirements for suits brought pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the district court holds that a local nonprofit environmental organization, individual steelworkers and their unions, and an unincorporated organization formed to study the effects upon communities of steel mill shutdowns have standing to challenge the sufficiency of an environmental impact statement prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers in connection with the proposed construction of a steel mill. The court finds that the Lake Erie Allance, a nonprofit organization formed by local residents to protect health and environmental quality, have shown "injury in fact" by alleging personally felt aesthetic and conservational harm to its members. Similarly, the steelworkers' allegation that they will suffer unemployment if the facility is built constitutes a threat of economic injury sufficient to satisfy the injury-in-fact test. Further, NEPA encompasses these interests, both because as residents of the area plaintiffs will materially suffer from the environmental effects of the project and because unemployment is a secondary socioeconomic effect meriting consideration under the Act. That the steelworkers' motives are primarily economic does not preclude them from asserting environmental claims under NEPA. Finally, the Tri-State Conference on the Impact of Steel in Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia has standing since its members reside in the area affected by the proposed project and are concerned with the urban blight that will allegedly result from the action, a secondary effect lying within the zone of interests protected by NEPA. The court concludes that plaintiffs' allegations under NEPA, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act are sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Staughton Lynd
Northeast Ohio Legal Services
804 Metropolitan Tower, Youngstown OH 44503
(216) 744-3196

Thomas J. Kennedy
474 Locust St., Pittsburgh PH 15218
(412) 371-3968

James A. Denny
1201 Realty Bldg., Youngstown OH 44503
(216) 747-6718

Douglas Kohout
926 Dresden Rd., Cleveland Heights OH 44112
(216) 623-8585

Counsel for Defendants
Craig R. McKay, Ass't U.S. Attorney
633 U.S. Post Office & Courthouse, 7th Ave. & Grant St., Pittsburgh PA 15219
(412) 644-3500

Peter D. Coppelman
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4046

H. Frank Parson, Ass't District Counsel
Army Engineer District, 1776 Niagara St., Buffalo NY 14207
(716) 876-5454