Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Daingerfield Island Protective Soc'y v. Babbitt

ELR Citation: 24 ELR 20334
Nos. No. 86-2396, 823 F. Supp. 950/(D.D.C., 06/08/1993)

The court upholds the National Park Service's (NPS') approval of the design of an interchange connecting Mount Vernon Memorial Highway with Daingerfield Island in the Potomac River, and holds that the NPS' action was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. The court holds that the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Act is too vague to allow for the enforcement requested by the plaintiffs, that the Capper-Cramton Act does not apply in Alexandria, Virginia, the site of the proposed interchange, and that both acts relate primarily to appropriations functions. The court holds that the NPS' approval of the diamond interchange design was not arbitrary, because the administrative record clearly shows that the NPS spent more than seven years to select the least intrusive design alternative. The court next holds that NPS' approval of the interchange design was not a "rule" under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and did not require compliance with the APA's notice and comment procedures. The court holds that the NPS was not required to publish notice of the design approval in the Federal Register under §552 of the APA, because the approval was an isolated agency act that in no way will affect future agency acts or decisions. Moreover, the approval will not have any future effect on any party before the agency. The court holds that it was reasonable for the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) to conduct its review of the interchange design under the terms of the government's contract with the developer rather than under the statutory provisions of the National Capital Planning Act, and that the NCPC does not have veto power over the project. Next, the court holds that the NPS sufficiently considered floodplain impact in its decisions regarding the interchange design. Finally, the court holds that the NPS substantially complied with the National Historic Preservation Act. The NPS expressly sought approval from the advisory council on historic preservation, which concurred with NPS' finding of no adverse effect.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Catherine A. Cotter
Wilson & Cotter
810 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
Washington DC
(202) 628-3160

Counsel for Defendants
Mark Nagle, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
5806 Judiciary Ctr. Bldg.
555 4th St. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 514-7566
Thomas F. Farrell II
McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe
Transpotomac Plaza
1199 N. Fairfax St., Ste. 1000, Alexandria VA 22314
(703) 739-6200