Federal court rules against group's challenges to
Judge Edward J. Lodge, U.S. District Court, District of Idaho, issued a decision Thursday (March 27), rejecting all claims filed by the North Idaho Community Action Network (NICAN) that challenged the Sand Creek Byway environmental process.
NICAN, a local environmental group, argued the Federal Highway Administration and the Idaho Transportation Department had violated the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Transportation Act, and that the environmental studies for the proposed project failed to adequately consider project impacts and less damaging alternatives. NICAN argued the project would adversely impact wetlands and Sand Creek, and a historic railroad depot.
Judge Lodge rejected those arguments, holding as follows:
The federal rules provide NICAN 30 days from entry of the final judgment to file an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. NICAN also can file a motion for injunction pending appeal.
NICAN has raised other legal challenges to approvals to the project, including a case pending in federal court in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, challenging the Clean Water Act § 404 permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.