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Isle of Hope Historical Ass'n v. Corps of Eng'rs

Citation: 11 ELR 20675
No. No. CV 480-15, 646 F.2d 215/(S.D. Ga., 11/14/1980)

The court rules that the Army Corps of Engineers properly issued dredge and fill permits for a boat marina expansion and that the accompanying environmental impact statement (EIS) is adequate. The court rejects plaintiff's allegations that the permits and the EIS are "fatally defective." The court notes that public notice of the permit application was made, that appropriate federal, state, and local authorities generally approve of the project, and that necessary state and local approvals had been secured. Applying a "rule of reason" standard of review, the court finds that the EIS represents a good-faith, objective, hard look at the environmental consequences, is sufficiently detailed to allow one to consider and understand these consequences, and explains the alternatives adequately to allow a reasoned choice among different courses of action. The court rejects plaintiff's objections to the Corps treatment of county land use planning and zoning regulations. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does not convert the Corps into a zoning appeal board or a county planning commission. Thus, the Corps fulfilled its responsibility under NEPA to cooperate and consult with local governments, to solicit comments from appropriate agencies, and to consider carefully possible conflicts between the project and local policies. In conclusion, the court lifts a previously issued temporary restraining order and dismisses the suit.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Walter C. Hartridge, John Gregory Odom
Bouhan, Williams & Levy
P.O. Box 2139, Savannah GA 31498
(912) 236-2491

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Kay L. Richman, Dirk D. Snel; and Anthony C. Liotta, Acting Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2956

William T. Moore Jr., U.S. Attorney; Kenneth C. Ethridge, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 8999, Savannah GA 31402
(912) 232-3145

Counsel for Defendant Isle of Hope Marina
Don Smart, John G. Kennedy
Kennedy & Lewis
7th Floor, Realty Bldg., Savannah GA 31401
(912) 232-0101