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American Pub. Transit Ass'n v. Goldschmidt

Citation: 10 ELR 20581
No. No. 79-1697, 485 F. Supp. 811/(D.D.C., 02/07/1980)

The court invalidates regulations issued by the Secretary of Transportation intended to provide handicapped persons with equal access to mass trainsit vehicles and facilities. Initially, the court finds that the regulations are within the Secretary's statutory authority and that the rulemaking record on which the regulations are based shows that technical and economic questions were considered fully and fairly. The failure to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS), however, constitutes a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). By requiring hundreds of municipal transit systems to undergo extensive physical modifications as well as operational changes, the regulations will have environmental effects sufficiently significant and geographically dispersed to require preparation of a programmatic EIS. Additionally, the court declares inadequate a six-page negative declaration prepared by the Department of Transportation, finding that it fails to take a hard look at the relevant environmental concerns. Notwithstanding the existence of a statutory violation, the court finds that the equities favor withholding injunctive relief against implementation of the regulations while programmatic and site-specific EISs are prepared

The full text of the opinion is available from ELR (28 pp. $3.75, ELR Order No. C-1217). That portion of the opinion addressing defendants' compliance with NENVIRONMENTAL PROCTECTION AGENCY is excerpted below.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Barry J. Cutler, David R. Melincoff
O'Connor & Hannan
1747 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 785-8700

Counsel for Defendants
Barbara L. Gordon, Paul Blandenstein
Civil Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4776

Robert W. Batchelder
Urban Mass Transportation Administration
Department of Transportation, Washington DC 20590
(202) 426-4043

Counsel for Amicus Curiae American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
James J. Raggio
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
1315 Walnut St., Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 735-7200

Counsel for Amicus Curiae American Ass'n of State Highway and Transp. Officials
Charles A. Miller, Carolyn F. Corwin
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6000

Oberdorfer, J.