Save Our ecoSystems vs. FHWA
1996 lawsuit that stopped WEP
This lawsuit convinced the Feds to withdraw 1990 approval. The suit was not even heard by the judge, the FHWA realized they would likely lose the lawsuit and withdrew the approval a month after the suit was filed. The following year, in 1997, FHWA issued a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement in 1997. Despite almost a decade of trying, FHWA never finished the Final EIS because every option they considered was very illegal, overpriced and underforming. The "No Build" Record of Decision was finally made in 1997.
From: Barbara Kelley
Sent: Tuesday, 28 May, 2002 10:55 AM
On June 14, 1996, the highway was just about to go through. Therefore, Save Our ecoSystems (SOS), with Attorney Dave Bahr, filed lawsuit Civil 6161-HO in federal court against the Federal Highway Administration, citing violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). SOS won! On July 30, 1996, we were informed:
"Prior to any construction proceeding, we still need to receive the 404 permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, application pending, and complete coordination with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on threatened and endangered species. In addition we are now in the process of conducting a supplemental EIS for the entire project, rather than just the western and eastern portions. Therefore, we are suspending our approval of the PS&E for the construction of the middle section of the West Eugene Parkway project."
This lawsuit was settled out of court six weeks after being filed, without ever going in front of a judge. The FHWA knew there was no point to defending the WEP, since the case was extremely illegal and they would lose.
While all of the government planners at all levels of government are aware that the WEP lacked "legal sufficiency" and therefore the FHWA would not even attempt to defend their side in federal court, this historical fact was censored from pro-WEP statements from elected officials, ODOT publications, the SDEIS and its re-evaluation, and propaganda from the private promoters from the Chamber of Commerce and similar entities who have financial interests in the WEP and/or related sprawl overdevelopment.