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Friends for Ferrell Parkway v. Stasko

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20493
Nos. No. 01-1899, 282 F.3d 315/(4th Cir., 02/28/2002)

The court affirms a district court decision holding that an organization lacked standing to seek judicial review of a proposed land transaction between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), a city, and a private developer that would protect sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat. Under the transaction, FWS would acquire two parcels of land. The first parcel was previously designated for construction of a parkway. The second parcel, which is adjacent to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, was originally intended for development. The organization alleged that FWS' proposed acquisition of the first parcel harmed them by not providing the benefits that the construction of a parkway would purportedly generate. They also argued that the second parcel was outside the acquisition boundaries of the wildlife refuge, and that FWS' actions in acquiring that land constituted impermissible local land use planning. The court first holds that the organization failed to show an injury-in-fact. The proposed sale of the land impacts none of the members' rights because under Virginia law they have no entitlement to the construction of a roadway. In addition, it requires numerous, questionable assumptions to conclude that the second parcel would be developed even in the absence of FWS' purchase of that land. And even if the organization could somehow show injury-in-fact, it cannot meet the traceability and redressability requirements of the standing inquiry. The court also rejects the organization's argument that it would be injured due to lost opportunities to lobby for the parkway.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Carl Strass
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Counsel for Defendants
Kent P. Porter, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
101 W. Main St., Ste. 8000, Norfolk VA 23510
(757) 441-6331

Wilkinson, J. Before Motz and Gregory, JJ.