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Lange v. Brinegar

ELR Citation: 10 ELR 20684
Nos. No. 77-2223, 625 F.2d 812/14 ERC 2001/(9th Cir., 04/28/1980)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determines that defendants segmentation of an interstate highway project in Washington State, for purposes of analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), was proper and affirms a lower court's denial of injunctive relief against the project. The environmental impact statement for the segment in question was not required to consider the entire highway project because the segment runs between logical termini, is long enough to ensure adequate consideration of alternatives, and has independent utility. The court rejects the contention that Daly v. Volpe, from which these segmentation criteria are derived, was effectively overruled by Cady v. Morton, stressing that the two cases are distinguishable on factual grounds. Applying the "rule of reason," which governs compliance with NEPA's procedural requirements, the court concludes that the environmental impact statement and supplement for the challenged segment adequately consider possible secondary development, impacts on access to local farms, and at least one alternative that did not pass through the town of Prosser. Finally, the court rules that the responsible federal official participated sufficiently in preparation of the impact statements.

Counsel for Appellants
J. Richard Aramburu
505 Madison St., Seattle WA 98104
(206) 625-9515

Counsel for Respondents
Peter R. Steenland
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2748

Robert B. Rutledge, Regional Counsel
Federal Highway Administration
222 SW Morrison St., Portland OR 97204
(503) 221-2076

Charles F. Secrest
Department of Highways
Highway Administration Bldg., Olympia WA 98504
(206) 753-6054

Counsel for Intervenor-Respondent
Jonathan Blank
Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis, Holman & Fletcher
1776 G St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 628-1700

Before KENNEDY, ALARCON, Circuit Judges, and GRANT, District Judge.