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National Parks Conservation Ass'n v. Semonite

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20036
Nos. 18-5179, (D.C. Cir., 03/01/2019)

The D.C. Circuit reversed a district court's decision upholding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a transmission line that would cross the historic James River. Conservation groups argued that the Corps should have prepared an EIS for the project because it would significantly impact historic resources. The court found that the Corps' "no significant impact" finding was arbitrary and capricious because important questions about both the agency's chosen methodology and the scope of the transmission line's impact remained unanswered, and federal and state agencies with relevant expertise had expressed significant concerns about locating a project of this magnitude in a region of such singular importance to the nation's history. The court therefore reversed the district court's decision and directed the Corps to prepare an EIS.