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Taxpayers Watchdog, Inc. v. Stanley

ELR Citation: 17 ELR 20905
Nos. No. 86-5714, 819 F.2d 294/25 ERC 2123/(D.C. Cir., 05/19/1987)

The court holds that the Urban Mass Transportation Association (UMTA) did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it segmented and funded four miles of a subway system for Los Angeles, California, after finding that construction of the four-mile portion would have no significant environmental impact. The four-mile portion has independent utility and logical endpoints, and does not foreordain alternative routes of expansion or a decision not to expand at all. Although a contract with the local transit authority and a California statute require an expansion of the system, these obligations cannot irretrievably commit UMTA to disburse federal funds if to do so would violate NEPA.

Counsel for Appellee
William T. Coleman Jr., Donald T. Bliss, Jacob M. Lewis
O'Melveny & Meyers
555 13th St. NW, Suite 500 West, Washington DC 20004
(202) 383-5300

Joseph E. diGenova, U.S. Attorney
Constitution Ave. and John Marshall Place NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 272-9000

Counsel for Appellants
Nina Bang-Jensen, Robert D. Donaldson
Rogers & Wells
1737 H St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 331-7760

Before: BORK, SILBERMAN, and D.H. GINSBURG, Circuit Judges.