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Black Warrior Riverkeeper v. Alabama Department of Transportation

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20017
Nos. 2:11-CV-267, 2:13-CV-794, (M.D. Ala., 01/19/2016) (Watkins, J.)

A district court, in a 126-page opinion, dismissed environmental groups' NEPA lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Transportation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Highway Administration in connection with a proposed six-lane, 50-mile highway project north of Birmingham, Alabama. The project is estimated to cost $5.4 billion with a completion date of 2048, and the groups allege that the defendants failed to comply with NEPA. They sought an injunction to halt the project until the defendants prepared a comprehensive supplemental EIS (SEIS). They also wanted the court to rescind a CWA §404 permit that the Corps issued to allow the first stage of construction to begin. But the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, rejecting the groups' claims that the defendants failed to take a hard look at the project's indirect and cumulative impacts or that the defendants acted arbitrarily or capriciously in determining that no SEIS was required.