Case 32

Citizens' Committee for Environmental Protection v. United States Coast Guard, 456 F. Supp. 101 (D.N.J. 1978).

Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the construction of a freeway extension for which the State defendant was required to seek permits from the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers. The proposed highway route would run through parkland and would adversely affect historic sites. The Coast Guard, as lead agency, had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) under the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act with the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Council and had prepared a combined environmental impact statement (EIS) and Section 4(f) statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Department of Transportation Act. The court denied plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. On the merits, plaintiffs alleged that the State defendant was violating the terms of the MOA and challenged Federal defendants' compliance with NEPA and Section 4(f).

The court first concluded that plaintiffs did not have the privity of contract necessary to maintain an action alleging breach of duties imposed by the MOA. 456 F. Supp. at 115. Even if plaintiffs were parties to the MOA, they had not shown that the State defendant intended to breach the MOA, a prerequisite to maintenance of a claim of anticipatory breach of contract. Id. at 116.

Second, the court found that plaintiffs had failed to satisfy the case or controversy requirements of the United States Constitution because they had not established that they had suffered any injury-in-fact arising out of the MOA. Id.

The court went on to reject plaintiffs' challenges to the permits and the EIS/Section 4(f) statement and entered judgment for defendants. Id. at 120-21.

Go to Table of Contents Go to Top