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Growth-Induced Land Development Caused by Highway and Other Projects as an Indirect Effect Under NEPA

December 2013

Citation: 43 ELR 11068

Issue: 12

Author: Daniel R. Mandelker

Growth-induced land development caused by highway and other projects must be considered as a significant indirect effect under NEPA. For this review, lawyers must look to the regulations adopted by CEQ specifying the causation and foreseeability tests for indirect effects. Several reports discuss procedures for deciding whether a highway could cause growth-induced land development, and recommend a prescreening process to make this decision. Case law also addresses when indirect effects must be considered. The cases pay limited attention to causation and foreseeability requirements, and agencies did not use a prescreening process in any of the decided cases. However, the criteria courts used to decide when growth-induced land development would occur are consistent with those suggested in the highway project reports.

Daniel R. Mandelker is the Stamper Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

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