Case 14



James v. Lynn, 374 F. Supp. 900 (D. Colo. 1974).

Landowners sought to enjoin the demolition of buildings of possible historic significance, none of which had been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The demolition was to occur as part of the East Side Urban Renewal Project, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although HUD had prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the EIS did not discuss historic resources. Moreover, the agency had made no attempt to comply with Executive Order No. 11593 or the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Although plaintiffs alleged that the EIS was inadequate and that HUD was required to comply with Executive Order No. 11593 and Section 106 of NHPA, the only relief that they sought was to require HUD to prepare an adequate EIS.

The court first assumed, for the purposes of the case, that Executive Order No. 11593 established a procedure that must be followed in preparing an EIS. Although HUD had not followed these steps and had not considered historic resources in its EIS, the court declined to require HUD to conduct the procedures required by Executive Order No. 11593 because plaintiffs' presentation at the hearing of evidence as to the historic qualities of the area had served to provide HUD with sufficient information to decide whether to proceed with the undertaking. The court agreed that it would have been better had the information on historic resources been available in the EIS, but held that NEPA had been satisfied because the buildings were still standing and the plans could still be changed. Because the court believed that to require HUD to comply with Executive Order No. 11593 would be a needless act, it declined to issue the requested injunction. 374 F. Supp. at 903.

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