Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Airport Neighbors Alliance, Inc. v. United States

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 20214
Nos. 95-9503, 90 F.3d 426/44 ERC 1104/(10th Cir., 07/23/1996)

The court holds that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does not require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to consider the master plan for an airport's expansion in an environmental assessment (EA) of the upgrade of one runway. The court first holds that the issue is not moot, even though the runway upgrade has been substantially completed, because if it finds that the FAA failed to comply with NEPA, it can order the runway closed or impose restrictions on its use. The court next holds that the FAA did not inappropriately ignore cumulative impacts of the upgrade when it failed to analyze extensively other components of the master expansion plan in the EA. The court found that there was no "inextricable nexus" between the challenged runway and other components of the master plan. The court also holds that the FAA did not act arbitrarily and capriciously by refusing to consider infeasible alternatives to the project. The court further holds that concern over safety during construction of the runway is moot, because construction has been completed. And the FAA was not required to address in the EA the impact that construction of another runway will have on noise in the area, because the construction of that runway is not part of the proposed action.

Counsel for Petitioner
Eric Ames
Western Environmental Law Center
P.O. Box 1507, Taos NM 87571
(505) 751-0351

Counsel for Respondents
Lois J. Schiffer
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before EBEL, Circuit Judge, McWILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge, and LUCERO, Circuit Judge.