Hoosier Environmental Council v. U.S. Corps of Engineers

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Clean Water Act
Case Number: 
No. 12-3187
Decision Date: 
July 16, 2013
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in action by plaintiffs-environmental groups, who challenged under Clean Water Act defendant’s decision to issue permit for construction of new highway over certain wetlands in Indiana, after finding that bridges of proposed new highway would not violate Clean Water Act because no less environmentally damaging alternative was practicable, and because proposed new highway was not contrary to public interest. Record showed that defendant actually considered plaintiffs’ proposed alternative of upgrading existing highway when it reviewed reports, environmental impact statements and findings of other agencies to support defendant’s determination that overall purpose of new highway project, i.e., to provide direct access between Indianapolis and Evansville and to reduce number of accidents, could not be fulfilled by plaintiffs’ proposed alternative, even though environmental damage associated with new highway would be modestly greater than plaintiffs’ proposed alternative. Moreover, plaintiffs failed to show that detailed analysis generated by defendant to establish that new highway was in public’s interest was unreasonable.