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E-M:/ Plaintiffs win injunction against highway in Virginia NEPA fight



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Enviro-Mich message from Terry Lodge <tjlodge50@yahoo.com>
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    NEPA wonks, there's a new decision made by a
federal judge in western Virginia which blocks
construction of a highway bypass around
Charlottesville pending preparation of a supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).
 
   The decision is Piedmont Environmental Council v.
U.S. Dept. of Transportation and was issued August 21.
It's URL is: 
 
http://www.vawd.uscourts.gov/OPINIONS/MOON/98-04-CPIEDMONTSUMMARYJUDGMENT.PDF
 
   Or you can access it from this link:

http://www.vawd.uscourts.gov/opinion.asp

    The decision is quite lengthy, over 40 pages, and
the plaintiffs were unsuccessful on many, though not
all issues.

    The Plaintiffs won a precedent which should have
applicability to highway fights in Michigan which pass
over or near wetlands and other waters. We could've
used this type of authority in a highway fight
involving serious proposed wetlands destruction in
Toledo a few years back. Specifically, the Virginia
court held that neither a stale Final Environmental
Impact Statement, nor a newer Environmental
Assessment, adequately discussed anticipated
automotive pollutant runoff from the proposed bypass
into a nearby reservoir, and further that the EA and
re-evaluation EIS (REIS) inadequately discussed
mitigation measures. 

    The court also ruled that the use of the REIS to
address issues which should have been dealt with in
NEPA documents constitutes improper "post hoc
rationalization."  

    The court also determined that a failure to
perform adequate archeological assessment of changed
grade and larger “footprint” from a proposed
larger-than-original interchange required supplementation.

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