County of Bergen v. Dole

Decision Date10 October 1985
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 82-4065.
Citation620 F. Supp. 1009
PartiesThe COUNTY OF BERGEN; the Borough of Franklin Lakes; the Township of Montville; the Franklin Lakes Homeowners Committee Against I-287; the New Jersey Citizens Coalition To Stop I-287; and the Passaic River Coalition, Plaintiffs, v. Elizabeth Hanford DOLE, as the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation; the United States Department of Transportation; Ray Barnhart, as the Federal Highway Administrator; John G. Bestgen, Jr., as the Regional Administrator of Region 1 of the Federal Highway Administration; John J. Kessler, Jr., as the Division Administrator of the New Jersey Division of the Federal Highway Administration; the Federal Highway Administration; James G. Watt, as the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior; the United States Department of the Interior; Lee Verstandig, as the Acting Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency; Jacqueline E. Schafer, as Administrator of Region 2 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency; the United States Environmental Protection Agency; John P. Sheridan, Jr., as the Commissioner of Transportation of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Jersey

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

David Paget, New York City, for all plaintiffs.

William T. Smith, Franklin Lakes, N.J., for Franklin Lakes.

Priscilla Triolo, Hackensack, N.J., for Franklin Lakes Homeowners Committee Against I-287 and New Jersey Citizens Coalition to Stop I-287.

Valerie F. Mauceri, Asst. U.S. Atty., Newark, N.J., for U.S. Dept. of Transp., Federal Highway Admin., U.S. E.P.A., and U.S. Dept. of Interior.

Michael R. Dressler, Hackensack, N.J., Bergen County Counsel.

Lawrence K. Eismeier, Boonton, N.J., for Montville.

Alfred Porro, Lyndhurst, N.J., for Passaic River Coalition.

John J. Maiorana, Deputy Atty. Gen., Div. of Law, Trenton, N.J., for N.J. Dept. of Transp.

                              TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                            PAGE
                GLOSSARY .................................. 1012
                  I. SCOPE OF REVIEW ...................... 1016
                 II. FINDINGS OF FACT ..................... 1017
                     A. Procedural History of the I-287
                          Project ......................... 1017
                     B. Findings of Fact as to Each of
                          Plaintiffs' Claims .............. 1039
                III. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW ................... 1049
                     A. Overview of NEPA, DOTA and
                          FAHA ............................ 1049
                     B. Standard of Review ................ 1052
                     C. Conclusions of Law as to Each of
                          Plaintiffs' Claims .............. 1054
                 IV. CONCLUSION ........................... 1066
                                   GLOSSARY
                ABBREVIATION                EXPLANATION
                ACOE                  Army Corps. of Engineers
                Action Plan           New Jersey Action Plan
                APA                   Administrative Procedure Act
                                       5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq
                CEQ                   Council on Environmental
                                       Quality
                Citizens Coalition    New Jersey Citizens Coalition
                                       to Stop I-287
                DEIS                  Draft Environmental Impact
                                       Statement (A.R., Vol. 3, Item
                                       24)
                DOI                   United States Department of
                                       Interior
                DOTA                  Department of Transportation
                                       Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C
                                       § 101 et seq
                E.O. 11988            Executive Order 11988, 42
                                       Fed. Reg. 26951, May 24
                                       1977
                E.O. 11990            Executive Order 11990, 42
                                       Fed. Reg. 26961, May 24,
                                       1977
                E.O. 12372            Executive Order 12372, Fed.
                                       Reg. 30959, July 14, 1982
                EPA                   United States Environmental
                                       Protection Agency
                ESA                   Endangered Species Act 16
                                       U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.
                FAHA                  Federal-Aid Highway Act, as
                                       amended, 23 U.S.C. § 101 et
                                       seq.
                
                ABBREVIATION                EXPLANATION
                FEIS                  Final EIS/Section 4(f) Evaluation
                                       (A.R., Vol. 24, Item 101)
                FEMA                  Federal Emergency Management
                                       Administration
                FHWA                  Federal Highway Administration
                FWCA                  Fish and Wildlife Coordination
                                       Act 16 U.S.C. § 661 et
                                       seq.
                Homeowners Committee  Franklin Lakes Homeowners
                                       Committee Against I-287
                HUD                   U.S. Department of Housing
                                       and Urban Development
                ICA                   Intergovernmental Cooperation
                                       Act of 1968 31 U.S.C.
                                       § 6501 et seq.
                I-287                 Interstate Route 287 of the
                                       National System of Interstate
                                       and Defense Highways,
                                       commonly known as
                                       the "Interstate Highway
                                       System."
                NEPA                  National Environmental Policy
                                       Act 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et
                                       seq.
                NHPA                  National Historic Preservation
                                       Act 16 U.S.C. § 470f
                NJDEP                 New Jersey Department of
                                       Environmental Protection
                NJDOT                 New Jersey Department of
                                       Transportation
                NJEO 53               New Jersey Executive Order
                                       53
                NJERA                 New Jersey Environmental
                                       Rights Act N.J.S.A.
                                       § 2A:35A-1 et seq.
                NJTPB                 New Jersey Transportation
                                       Planning Board
                OMB                   U.S. Office of Management
                                       and Budget
                PFEIS                 Preliminary Final Environmental
                                       Impact Statement/Draft
                                       Section 4(f) Evaluation
                                       (A.R., Vol. 15, Items 78A-78D)
                PPM 20-8              Policy and Procedure Memorandum
                                       20-8 of the Federal
                                       Highway Administration
                PRC                   Passaic River Coalition
                PS & E                Plans, Specifications & Estimates
                USDOT                 United States Department of
                                      Transportation
                V/C Ratio             Volume to Capacity Ratio
                
OPINION

HAROLD A. ACKERMAN, District Judge.

Interstate 287 (hereinafter "I-287") was designated as part of the original interstate highway system in 1956. It was never completed. The plaintiffs herein seek to enjoin the construction of the remaining 20.6 mile stretch from the terminus of United States Route 202 in Montville Township, Morris County, New Jersey to the New York State Thruway in Suffern, New York. The Administrative Record, affidavits, briefs and correspondence submitted to the court in this vigorously litigated action to bar the planned construction are themselves sufficient to pave the remaining twenty miles. The Assistant United States Attorney representing the federal defendants to this action has stated that "this case holds the record in the U.S. Attorney's Office, both criminal and civil, for the highest xeroxing bill and the most amount of paper ever submitted to the U.S. District Court, at least of recent vintage, in the last 15 years." See Transcript of hearing, February 14, 1984 at 17. Taken literally or metaphorically, this statement confirms this court's impression that the gargantuan 46 volume Administrative Record in the instant litigation has not often been surpassed.

The plaintiffs herein are the County of Bergen, the Borough of Franklin Lakes (Bergen County), the Township of Montville (Morris County), Franklin Lakes Homeowners Committee Against I-287, New Jersey Citizens Coalition to Stop I-287 and the Passaic River Coalition. Three other plaintiffs, the Township of Pequannock, the Borough of Pompton Lakes and the Township of Mahwah have withdrawn from this litigation by consent orders filed with this court.

The defendants are a variety of individuals and agencies of the state and federal governments. The so-called "federal defendants" are as follows: the United States Department of Transportation (hereinafter "USDOT"), Elizabeth Hanford Dole in her capacity as Secretary of USDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (hereinafter "FHWA") (an administration within USDOT), Ray Barnhart in his capacity as Administrator of FHWA, John G. Bestgen, Jr. in his capacity as Regional Administrator of Region 1 of FHWA, John Kessler, Jr. in his capacity as Division Administrator of the New Jersey Division of FHWA, the United States Department of the Interior (hereinafter "DOI"), James G. Watt in his capacity as former Secretary of DOI,1 the Environmental Protection Agency (hereinafter EPA), Lee Verstandig in his capacity as the Acting Administrator of EPA2, and Jacqueline E. Schafer in her capacity as the Administrator of Region 2 of EPA. The so-called "state defendants" are the New Jersey Department of Transportation (hereinafter "NJDOT") and John P. Sheridan, Jr. in his capacity as the Commissioner of NJDOT.

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief. They allege that the administrative process resulting in the approval of the I-287 highway project violated the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 as amended, 49 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. (hereinafter cited as "DOTA"); the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. (hereinafter cited as "NEPA") and the regulations promulgated thereunder; the Federal Aid Highway Act as amended, 23 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. (hereinafter cited as "FAHA"), and the regulations promulgated thereunder; and Policy and Procedure Memorandum 20-8 (hereinafter cited as "PPM 20-8") superseded in...

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