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Manchester Envtl. Coalition v. Stockton

Citation: 12 ELR 20650
No. No. 8940, 441 A.2d 68/184 Conn. 51, (Conn., 05/05/1981)

The court rules that plaintiffs have standing under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) to challenge the state's failure to comply with the Environmental Policy Act. Initially, the court determines that plaintiffs have standing under the EPA to challenge the construction of an industrial park, which they allege will result in unreasonable air pollution. Next, the court notes that the standing conferred under the EPA is limited to environmental issues, which includes allegations of failure to comply with the Environmental Policy Act. The court determines that under the Environmental Policy Act an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required for the industrial park project because the increase in use of motor vehicles in the project area may significantly harm the environment. The court then determines that the submission of the EIS to the Commissioner of Commerce after the project was approved violates the Environmental Policy Act. In addition, the EIS is deficient because it did not include consideration of a mass transportation alternative. The court rejects plaintiffs' argument that the Validating Act, which validates the commissioner's noncompliance with the Environmental Policy Act if a project plan is found not inimical to any statewide planning program, is unconstitutional. Finally the court rules that the judiciary alone has jurisdiction to determine whether a statute is in conflict with the state constitution. A dissent would find that the court erred by interfering with the trial court's fact finding rather than applying a "clearly erroneous" standard to the trial court's findings.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Anthony F. Pagano, David L. Schulman, Bruce S. Beck
Beck & Pagano
447 Center St., Manchester CT 06040
(203) 646-5606

Counsel for Defendants
Bourke G. Spellacy, Elizabeth R. Collins
Updike, Kelly & Spellacy
One Constitution Plaza, Hartford CT 06103
(203) 547-1120

Bernard F. McGovern Jr., Attorney General; Carl R. Ajello
Capitol Annex, 30 Trinity St., Hartford CT 06115
(203) 566-2026

Rolland J. Castleman, Jules A. Karp
Lessner, Karp & Plepler
364 Middle Turnpike W., Manchester CT 06040
(203) 649-5277


In this opinion PETERS and ARMENTANO, JJ., concurred.