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Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Bowser

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20050
Nos. 14-7168, (D.C. Cir., 03/08/2016)

The D.C. Circuit upheld the dismissal of a community group's lawsuit challenging the construction of a streetcar storage and training facility and the installation of overhead wires along a 2.2-mile stretch of a new streetcar line in Washington, D.C. The groups claimed that legislation authorizing construction of the overhead wires violated an 1888 federal statute, that the city failed to prepare an EIS, and that the project violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But the groups misread the 1888 statute, which serves as no obstacle to the new legislation. In addition, the city did not breach its obligation to prepare an EIS; it prepared a report concluding that the project would not have a substantial impact on traffic conditions in any of the key analyzed sections of the project area. Given the absence of material conflicting evidence, the city is entitled to deference for its decision. And while the city cut significant procedural corners, most particularly with regard to notice, the group offered no evidence of a racially discriminatory purpose to support its equal protection claims. The court, therefore, affirmed the district court's dismissal of this case, albeit on slightly different grounds.