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Hill v. Boy

ELR Citation: 28 ELR 21433
Nos. 97-8872, 144 F.3d 1446/47 ERC 1316/(11th Cir., 07/02/1998)

The court holds that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider adequately the environmental impact of a petroleum pipeline that crosses under a proposed reservoir before issuing a Federal Water Pollution Control Act §404 permit. In issuing the permit, the Corps assumed that the pipeline would be relocated. The court first holds that the record does not support this assumption. The court then holds that the Corps failed to consider adequately the environmental impact of the pipeline remaining underneath the proposed reservoir. It is clear that the Corps did not identify the environmental concerns related to the pipeline remaining underneath the proposed reservoir, did not take a hard look at the potential negative impacts of the pipeline, and did not make a convincing case for its finding of no significant impact. Thus, remand is necessary for consideration of any change in the purported plan to relocate the petroleum pipeline and, if the pipeline is not to be relocated, for consideration of whether the presence of the pipeline underneath the reservoir would have a significant adverse impact on the quality of the environment.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Gary P. Bunch
Law Offices of Gary P. Bunch
406 Tanner St., Carrollton GA 30117
(770) 836-0405

Counsel for Defendants
Ronald Spritzer
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Birch and Cohill,* JJ.