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4th Circuit, Flawed NEPA Review Process Cast Doubt On the Future of the Monroe Connector Bypass

Image courtesy FreeFoto.com

Remember the headline to my March 12, 2012 blog post about the Monroe Connector Bypass (or just the Monroe Bypass, for short)?

It suggested that the legal saga surrounding the proposed $725 million highway construction project was nearing “the end of the road.”

On second thought, not so much.

The road has taken an unexpectedly sharp turn, and there’s no telling how long the project may now be delayed.  Why? Because according to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (“4th Circuit”) in its May 3, 2012 decision in N.C. Wildlife Federation v. N.C. Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (“NCDOT”) and the Federal Highway Administration (“FHA”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) failed to conduct a clear, transparent environmental review process that permitted meaningful public comment under applicable principles of federal environmental law.

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