Environmental Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, No. 86-5143

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore RONEY, Chief Judge, HATCHETT, Circuit Judge, and TUTTLE; RONEY; TUTTLE
Citation831 F.2d 984
Parties, 18 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,273 ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION OF BROWARD COUNTY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Charles T. MYERS, III, Col. District Engineer, U.S. Army Corp of Engineer, John O. March, Jr., Sec. of the Army, S.A. Horvitz Testamentary Trust, Marcia Beach, Scott Cowan, Howard Craft, Howard Foreman, Nicki Grossman, Edward Kennedy, Gerald Thompson, in their official capacities as Comm. of Broward Cty., Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 86-5143
Decision Date05 November 1987

Page 984

831 F.2d 984
26 ERC 2043, 18 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,273
ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION OF BROWARD COUNTY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Charles T. MYERS, III, Col. District Engineer, U.S. Army
Corp of Engineer, John O. March, Jr., Sec. of the Army, S.A.
Horvitz Testamentary Trust, Marcia Beach, Scott Cowan,
Howard Craft, Howard Foreman, Nicki Grossman, Edward
Kennedy, Gerald Thompson, in their official capacities as
Comm. of Broward Cty., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 86-5143.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
Nov. 5, 1987.

Page 985

Edward Lee Rogers, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff-appellant.

Maria A. Iizuka, Appellate Section, Land & Natural Resources Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for U.S.

Gary P. Sams, Hopping, Boyd, Green, & Sams, Frank Mathews, Tallahassee, Fla., David W. Duke, Jr., McCune, Hiaasen, Crum, Ferris & Gardner, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., for S.A. Horvitz Testamentary Trust.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before RONEY, Chief Judge, HATCHETT, Circuit Judge, and TUTTLE, Senior Circuit Judge.

RONEY, Chief Judge:

Plaintiff Environmental Coalition of Broward County (the Coalition) appeals the refusal of the district court to enjoin work under a dredge and fill permit issued by the Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to the S.A. Horvitz Testamentary Trust (the Trust). We affirm.

The district court considered the application process, the public interest factors, the plans to go forward with the dredging of the Dania Cut-off Canal, the propriety of requiring no Environmental Impact Statement, and the Corps' consideration of practical alternatives to the applicant's proposal. The district court found that with respect to all these issues, the Corps' determination was well reasoned, fully documented, and completely justified. The district court found no need to go beyond the administrative record to reach these conclusions. Camp v. Pitts, 411 U.S. 138, 143, 93 S.Ct. 1241, 1244, 36 L.Ed.2d 106 (1973); Save Our Ten Acres v. Kreger, 472 F.2d 463, 467 (5th Cir.1973).

Such findings of fact made by the district court shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous, unless the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a); Anderson v. City of Bessemer, 470 U.S. 564, 573-75, 105 S.Ct. 1504, 1511-13, 84 L.Ed.2d 518 (1985).

REQUIRED SPECIFICATION OF APPLICATION

The Coalition argues that the description of the activities and structures proposed for the fill, which was supplied to the Corps by the Trust, did not contain enough specificity to provide effective public notice or to

Page 986

permit adequate analysis of the environmental consequences by the concerned parties or agencies.

The regulations, however, only require general descriptions of the proposed use. Regulations published under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1344, require that, before a dredge and fill permit can be issued, the Corps must be provided with "a complete description of the proposed activity including necessary drawings, sketches or plans sufficient for public notice." 33 C.F.R. 325.1(d). This public notice is primarily intended to advise all interested parties of the proposed activity for which a permit is sought and to make possible an evaluation of the probable impact on the public interest.

The requirements of the public notice are not couched in terms of inordinate specificity, but need only convey "sufficient information to give a clear understanding of the nature and magnitude of the proposed activity to generate meaningful comment." 33 C.F.R. 325.3(a). Blueprints of the entire layout are not required items of information. It is sufficient to include only a "brief description of the proposed activity, its purpose and intended use, ... including a description of the type of structures ... to be erected on fills." 33 C.F.R. 325.3(a)(5).

Under other regulations, the Corps' district engineer cannot issue a public notice where the application does not comply with the above regulations. He is required to review all applications for completeness, and can only issue a public notice when an application is found to be complete. 33 C.F.R. 325.2(a)(2); 33 C.F.R. 325.3. A decision made by an administrative agency under authority of this kind is due great deference.

The district court was required to determine whether the Corps' decision was reasonably supported by the information before it. This does not require that all of the data support the agency's decision. It is enough that the Corps considered all relevant factors and that there is credible evidence in the record to support its action. Bowman Transportation, Inc. v. Arkansas-Best Freight System, Inc., 419 U.S. 281, 285-86, 95 S.Ct. 438, 441-42, 42 L.Ed.2d 447 (1974). In its review, a court should give deference to the agency determination. This is particularly appropriate in the case of complex environmental statutes such as the Clean Water Act. EPA v. National Crushed Stone Association, 449 U.S. 64, 83-84, 101 S.Ct. 295, 306-07, 66...

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25 practice notes
  • Town of Norfolk v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 91-2215
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • March 4, 1992
    ...to the interpretation that it gives its own rules and regulations"); Environmental Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987) (deference to the Corps' determination is "particularly appropriate in the case of complex environmental statutes such a......
  • Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Ala. Dep't of Transp., CASE NO. 2:11-CV-267-WKW (WO)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • January 19, 2016
    ...factors and that there is credible evidence in the record to support its action." Envtl. Coal. of Broward Cnty., Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir. 1987). The court will not uphold the agency's action by supplying a reasoned basis for the agency's action that the agency has no......
  • Airport Communities Coalition v. Graves, No. C02-2483R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Washington)
    • August 18, 2003
    ...factors and its ultimate determinations are entitled to substantial deference."); Envtl. Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987). "In reviewing this public interest determination by the Corps, it is not [the court's] role to second-guess.... [......
  • Ocean Conserancy v. Evans, No. 8:01-CV-1399-T-24EAJ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • March 31, 2003
    ...Cir.1987) (applying arbitrary and capricious standard under the MSA). See also Environmental Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987) (courts should give deference to the agency determination in the case of "complex environmental statutes such as th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Town of Norfolk v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 91-2215
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • March 4, 1992
    ...to the interpretation that it gives its own rules and regulations"); Environmental Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987) (deference to the Corps' determination is "particularly appropriate in the case of complex environmental statutes such a......
  • Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Ala. Dep't of Transp., CASE NO. 2:11-CV-267-WKW (WO)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • January 19, 2016
    ...factors and that there is credible evidence in the record to support its action." Envtl. Coal. of Broward Cnty., Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir. 1987). The court will not uphold the agency's action by supplying a reasoned basis for the agency's action that the agency has no......
  • Airport Communities Coalition v. Graves, No. C02-2483R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Washington)
    • August 18, 2003
    ...factors and its ultimate determinations are entitled to substantial deference."); Envtl. Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987). "In reviewing this public interest determination by the Corps, it is not [the court's] role to second-guess.... [......
  • Ocean Conserancy v. Evans, No. 8:01-CV-1399-T-24EAJ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • March 31, 2003
    ...Cir.1987) (applying arbitrary and capricious standard under the MSA). See also Environmental Coalition of Broward County, Inc. v. Myers, 831 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir.1987) (courts should give deference to the agency determination in the case of "complex environmental statutes such as th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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