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Vine St. Concerned Citizens v. Dole

Citation: 15 ELR 20612
No. No. 84-6310, 604 F. Supp. 509/(E.D. Pa., 02/28/1985)

The court denies a preliminary injunction against construction on the Vine Street Expressway while an administrative decision on whether to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on simultaneous construction is pending, because no irreparable harm is likely before that decision is made. The court notes that to secure a preliminary injunction the plaintiff must demonstrate probable success on the merits, irreparable harm, and the absence of overriding third-party interests. On the merits, defendants concede that the decision to simultaneously build a convention center nearby will require them to reevaluate and possibly supplement the Expressway EIS, and they plan to do so when a draft EIS for the center is available. The court holds that until this evaluation is completed, the issue of whether an SEIS is necessary is not ripe. The court also finds that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that irreparable harm would result from pre-construction activities occurring before the defendant's decision on the need for a SEIS, since the alleged harms are economic rather than environmental, the substantive issues in the lawsuit will be decided prior to actual construction of the Expressway, and much of the construction will actually improve the environment. Finally, the court finds that an injunction would subject third persons to possible harm and is contrary to the public interest, given the beneficial effect of the Expressway on the community. However, due to the countervailing public interest in discovery of the effects of the convention center construction on the Expressway project, the court expedites the case on the merits to ensure the prompt determination of the need for a SEIS.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Harold R. Berk
3030 PSFS Bldg., Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 925-2051

Counsel for Defendants
John M. Hrubovcak
Department of Transportation
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1200 Transportation & Safety Bldg., Harrisburg PA 17120
(717) 783-2516

Rachel Shao
U.S. Attorney's Office
3310 U.S. Courthouse, Independence Mall, West 601 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19106
(215) 597-9179