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Norwalk Harbor Keeper v. U.S. Department of Transportation

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20118
Nos. 3:18-cv-0091 (SRU), (D. Conn., 07/08/2019) (Underhill, J.)

A district court granted summary judgment to DOT, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation in a challenge to the agencies' EA regarding the replacement of a movable railroad bridge in Norwalk, Connecticut. A conservation group argued the EA was inadequate because it failed to adequately consider fixed bridge alternative designs for the project, and that its recreational and aesthetic interests would be harmed if the agencies chose to replace the bridge with a new movable bridge rather than a fixed bridge. The court found the group did not have standing because the movable bridge choice offered a shorter period of disruption to the group's use and enjoyment of the river and thus did not lessen its recreational and aesthetic value as compared to the fixed bridge alternative. Further, the court held that even if the group did have standing to sue, the EA was not arbitrary because the agencies considered relevant factors before ultimately deciding that the fixed bridge alternatives unreasonably restricted navigation or were too costly or burdensome to construct. It therefore granted the agencies' motion.