Utahns for Better Transportation v. United States Department of Transportation

305 F.3d 1152 (2002)

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Utahns for Better Transportation v. United States Department of Transportation

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
305 F.3d 1152 (2002)

Facts

In preparation for anticipated population growth and travel demand, Utah officials developed a plan to construct Legacy Parkway, a state-funded highway that would start near Salt Lake City, run along the east side of the Great Salt Lake, and end in a connection with U.S. Route 89. Legacy Parkway was part of a “shared solution” that also included expansions of Interstate 15 and the public-transit system. Because the Legacy Parkway project required federal approval for its connection with a federal highway and its plan to fill in extensive wetlands around the Great Salt Lake, it constituted a major federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The project therefore required an environmental-impact statement (EIS). Following the release of a final EIS (FEIS), the Federal Highway Administration and the United States Corps of Engineers (the agencies) issued a record of decision allowing the project to move forward. Utahns for Better Transportation (UFBT) (plaintiff) filed suit asking that approval of the project be vacated and that a new EIS be ordered. UFBT alleged that the FEIS was insufficient on a number of grounds, including the following: (1) practicable alternatives existed to Legacy Parkway as planned, and those alternatives were not adequately considered; (2) the agencies failed to consider alternative land-use scenarios that would reduce travel demand and therefore the need for Legacy Parkway; (3) the FEIS failed to adequately analyze the impact of the possible future expansion of Legacy Parkway from two to four lanes; (4) the agencies did not fully consider the land-use impacts of Legacy Parkway; (5) the FEIS did not adequately consider the impacts of Legacy Parkway on Salt Lake City; (6) the agencies failed to adequately analyze the impacts on wetlands and wildlife; and (7) the FEIS did not include an adequate air-pollution analysis. The district court denied UFBT’s request, and UFBT appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kelly, J.)

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