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Simmons v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

120 F.3d 664 (1997)

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Simmons v. United States Army Corps of Engineers

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

120 F.3d 664 (1997)

Facts

In 1989, The City of Marion, Illinois (Marion), applied to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (corps) (defendant) as required by the Clean Water Act (CWA) for permission to build a dam and water reservoir in the southernmost tip of Illinois (the project). The dam would block Sugar Creek, and the resulting lake would supply water to Marion and the Lake of Egypt Water District (Water District). The corps and Marion defined the project’s purpose as supplying Marion and Water District from a single source. The corps prepared an environmental-impact statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The corps defined the project’s purpose as finding or creating a single water source to supply Marion and Water District. The corps did not determine whether the single-source concept was the best idea and only analyzed single-source alternatives. Bill Simmons and others argued that the corps’s definition of the plan’s purpose was unreasonable because the project’s real purpose was to supply Marion and the Water District with more water and there were reasonable alternatives to that beyond relying on a single source or reservoir. Simmons brought suit in district court. Simmons and the corps cross-moved for summary judgment. The district court found in favor of the corps that the EIS was adequate, and the court granted the corps’s motion for summary judgment. Simmons appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cudahy, J.)

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