Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Citizens against Burlington, Inc. v. Busey case brief

Citizens against Burlington, Inc. v. Busey case brief summary
938 F.2d 190


SYNOPSIS: Petitioners, citizens living near an airport, requested review of an order by respondent, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which approved the city of Toledo's plan to expand one of its airports.

OVERVIEW: The citizens contended that the FAA violated environmental statutes and regulations by approving an airport expansion.

HOLDING:
The court found that 1) the FAA had complied with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C.S. §§ 4321-4370b, in publishing an environmental impact statement (EIS) that defined the purpose of its action, eliminated alternatives that would not achieve it, and in discussing the proposal that would; 2) in examining the impacts of noise on the environment, the FAA's choice of method and factual conclusions that followed were not capricious; 3) by failing to select the consultant that prepared the EIS, the FAA violated the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), however, the court found that the integrity of the NEPA process was not compromised; and, 4) the FAA had met the requirements of § 509(b)(5) of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 (AAIA), codified at 49 U.S.C.S. app. § 2208(b)(5).

ANALYSIS:
The court noted that both the CEQ regulations and NEPA itself compelled only a reasonably complete discussion of possible mitigation measures and, although the EIS submitted may not have been flawless, it was reasonably complete.

OUTCOME: The court granted the petition for review and remanded to the agency so that it could comply with the requirement that the EIS be prepared directly by a contractor selected by the FAA. The court affirmed the FAA's decision in all other respects.

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