Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Goldschmidt

ELR Citation: 11 ELR 20845
Nos. No. 80-2015, 645 F.2d 1309/(8th Cir., 04/02/1981)

The court denies plaintiff's petition for review of Special Federal Aviation Regulation 43 (SFAR 43), which temporarily allocates takeoff and landing slots among air carriers serving National Airport, Washington, D.C., and rules that the Secretary of Transportation's issuance of the regulation does not require preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS). Initially, the court rules that the administrative record provides a sufficient basis for reviewing plaintiff's allegations. Next the court finds that the Secretary has authority under §307(a) and (c) of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, 49 U.S.C. §1348(a), (c), to issue SFAR 43 because it is neither an economic nor a safety regulation per se but a regulation of the efficient utilization of the navigable airspace of the United States. Turning to the merits, the court rules that the regulation is rational, based upon a consideration of all the relevant factors, and adequately explained. The court also finds that the Secretary satisified the procedural requirements of §4 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §553, ince the notice of the proposed rule described the subjects and issues involved. Because the urgent necessity for rapid administrative action constituted "good cause," the Secretary properly reduced the period for comments to seven days and declared the regulation effective upon issuance. Finally, the court rules that SFAR 43 has only minimal environmental impact and thus is not a "major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." Therefore, no EIS was required.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (14 pp. $2.25, ELR Order No. C-1253).

Counsel for Petitioner and Intervenors
Ronald D. Eastman, Jeffrey D. Kamarow, Barry S. Spector
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 293-6300

Counsel for Respondents
Thomas G. Allison, General Counsel; Kenneth Weinstein
Department of Transportation, Washington DC 20590
(202) 426-4702

Counsel for New York Air
Gerry Levenberg, Jeffrey S. Christie
Van Ness, Feldman & Sutcliffe
Suite 500, 1220 19th St NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 331-9400

McMillian, J.