Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, No. 72-C-31-CR.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtRobert C. Gross, Iowa City, Iowa, for plaintiffs
Citation349 F. Supp. 88
PartiesRichard E. JULIS et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. 72-C-31-CR.
Decision Date08 August 1972

349 F. Supp. 88

Richard E. JULIS et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants.

No. 72-C-31-CR.

United States District Court, N. D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division.

August 8, 1972.


Robert C. Gross, Iowa City, Iowa, for plaintiffs.

Asher Schroeder, Iowa Highway Commission, Ames, Iowa, C. Kenneth Cranston, U. S. Dept. of Transportation, Kansas City, Mo., Evan L. Hultman, U. S. Atty., Sioux City, Iowa, David F. McGuire, City Atty., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for defendants.

ORDER

McMANUS, Chief Judge.

This matter is before the court on plaintiffs' complaint filed July 19, 1972, seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining certain street construction work on Mt. Vernon Road in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, and a declaratory judgment that such construction is in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Plaintiffs base their claim upon the failure of defendants to prepare an environmental impact statement as prescribed by NEPA.1 A consolidated

349 F. Supp. 89
hearing pursuant to F.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(2) was held on July 26 and 27, 1972. The court has jurisdiction of the parties and the subject matter. 5 U.S.C. § 702, 28 U.S.C. § 1331

The work, officially identified by the acronym TOPICS (Traffic Operations Program to Improve Capacity and Safety) #72-T-006, involves a total expenditure of $651,515.55, $313,089.88 being the federal contribution. The construction area encompasses fourteen blocks.2 The undertaking primarily eliminates a bottleneck by widening a portion of an existing major traffic artery from two lanes to four lanes and includes traffic signal installations and a pedestrian overpass.

As noted above, NEPA requires the filing of an environmental impact statement for "major Federal Actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." (Emphasis added.) Therefore the threshold question for the court, involving a twofold determination, is whether the project is a "major federal action" and if "major", whether it significantly affects the quality of the human environment. Absent either element the Act does not apply.

Being of relatively recent origin (effective date January 1, 1970) the decisions interpreting specific provisions of the Act are scanty. From research of legislative history, little light has been shed on the meaning of the words "major federal action." See 1969 U.S.Code Cong. and Adm.News, p. 2751 et seq. Nor have the briefs of counsel been helpful. Generally the cases have been concerned with projects of such magnitude that the question is not raised. See Named Ind. Mem. of San Antonio Conservation Soc. v. Texas Hy. Dept., 446 F.2d 1013 (5 Cir. 1971) (Highway project ultimately crossing parkland involving cost of $12.6 million); Morning-side-Lenox Park Association v. Volpe, 334 F.Supp. 132 (D.C.1971) (Interstate Highway involving cost of $95 million); Environment Defense Fund v. Corps of Eng. of the U. S. Army, 325 F.Supp. 728 (D.C.1971) (Construction of dam inundating 4,680 acres—cost of $14.8 million).

However, the inclusion of the term "major" raises the obvious inference that not every federal action was meant to be included. Congress evidently intended to exclude from consideration the myriad minor activities with which the federal government becomes involved.

The spectrum of federal actions affecting the human environment range from the manufacture and sale of an 8 cent stamp by the Postal...

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15 practice notes
  • Township of Ridley v. Blanchette, Civ. A. No. 74-2113.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 12, 1976
    ...several thousand homes, many farms, and major stream channels totaling over sixty-six miles in length. Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, 349 F.Supp. 88 (N.D.Iowa 1972) concerned proposed street improvements which were designed to eliminate a bottleneck in the sole major east-west traffic arter......
  • Barcelo v. Brown, Civ. No. 78-323
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • September 17, 1979
    ...221 (W.D. Mo.1975); Prince George's County, Maryland v. Holloway, 404 F.Supp. 1181 (D.C.D. C.1975); Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 349 F.Supp. 88 (D.C.Iowa Although the proposals for much of this action predates the passage of NEPA in 1969, the Vieques operation is in effect part of a......
  • MINNESOTA PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH v. Butz, No. 73-1242
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 10, 1974
    ...on the environment. We agree with defendants that the two concepts are different * * *. Accord, Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 349 F.Supp. 88 (N.D.Iowa 1972). But cf. Wyoming Outdoor Coordinating Council v. Butz, supra, rev'g 359 F.Supp. 1178 (D.Wyo.1973) (which adopted the Hanly I ra......
  • NEW HOPE COMMUNITY v. US DEPT. OF HOUSING, No. 79-453-CIV-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • March 16, 1981
    ...or reasonableness of HUD's decision not to file an EIS. See Mid-Shiawasee, supra, 408 F.Supp., at 656; Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, 349 F.Supp. 88, 89 (N.D.Iowa 1972). As a matter of law, the court finds that HUD's decision not to file an EIS was neither arbitrary nor unreasonable; theref......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Township of Ridley v. Blanchette, Civ. A. No. 74-2113.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • October 12, 1976
    ...several thousand homes, many farms, and major stream channels totaling over sixty-six miles in length. Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, 349 F.Supp. 88 (N.D.Iowa 1972) concerned proposed street improvements which were designed to eliminate a bottleneck in the sole major east-west traffic arter......
  • Barcelo v. Brown, Civ. No. 78-323
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • September 17, 1979
    ...221 (W.D. Mo.1975); Prince George's County, Maryland v. Holloway, 404 F.Supp. 1181 (D.C.D. C.1975); Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 349 F.Supp. 88 (D.C.Iowa Although the proposals for much of this action predates the passage of NEPA in 1969, the Vieques operation is in effect part of a......
  • MINNESOTA PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH v. Butz, No. 73-1242
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 10, 1974
    ...on the environment. We agree with defendants that the two concepts are different * * *. Accord, Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 349 F.Supp. 88 (N.D.Iowa 1972). But cf. Wyoming Outdoor Coordinating Council v. Butz, supra, rev'g 359 F.Supp. 1178 (D.Wyo.1973) (which adopted the Hanly I ra......
  • NEW HOPE COMMUNITY v. US DEPT. OF HOUSING, No. 79-453-CIV-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • March 16, 1981
    ...or reasonableness of HUD's decision not to file an EIS. See Mid-Shiawasee, supra, 408 F.Supp., at 656; Julis v. City of Cedar Rapids, 349 F.Supp. 88, 89 (N.D.Iowa 1972). As a matter of law, the court finds that HUD's decision not to file an EIS was neither arbitrary nor unreasonable; theref......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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