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Named Individual Members of the San Antonio Conservation Soc'y v. Texas Highway Dep't

ELR Citation: 1 ELR 20379
Nos. No. 30915, 446 F.2d 1013/2 ERC 1871/(5th Cir., 08/05/1971) Dismissal rev'd with directions

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act prohibits the Secretary of Transportation from dividing a proposed highway project into segments for the purposes of route approval where the effect of such a piecemeal approach would be to leave planners with no alternative but to condemn parkland for the road. The Secretary has failed to comply with the reporting requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, although a federal-aid highway project estimated to cost $18 million clearly comes within the ambit of that Act. The Supreme Court's reversal of the district court in Citizens Committee to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe (1 ELR 20110), indicates that where local officials classify parkland as of little or no "local significance" in order to frustrate the mandates of Section 4(f), their "preferences" are to be accorded little weight. Finally, although Texas intends to build the road entirely with state funds, if necessary, the North Expressway has been a "federal project" since the Secretary of Transportation authorized federal participation on August 13, 1970, and, even though no federal funds have as yet been expended, the planning and construction process is still subject to federal law.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
John W. Vardaman Jr.
1000 Hill Building
Washington, DC 20006
(202) ME 8-6565

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
Samuel D. McDaniel Assistant Attorney General
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 475-2501

Ted Butler Assistant United States Attorney
P.O. Box 1701
San Antonio, TX 78206
(512) 225-5511

Before THORNBERRY, MORGAN, and CLARK, Circuit Judges.