Case 4

Miltenberger v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 450 F.2d 971 (4th Cir. 1971).

Plaintiffs sought to enjoin a railway from demolishing a railway station and hotel listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. The district court denied the requested relief, and plaintiffs sought an injunction pending appeal. The city in which the buildings were located had at one point applied to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a grant to purchase and restore the property, but the city had changed its mind and refused the HUD money. Although HUD was no longer involved, plaintiffs argued that because defendant's passenger service was regulated by AMTRAK, a federally created corporation, the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be met before the buildings could be demolished.

Noting that the station and hotel had been abandoned by the railway before the enactment of the AMTRAK legislation, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the hotel did not fall within AMTRAK's jurisdiction but was a private parcel owned by the railway and unrelated to rail passenger service. 450 F.2d at 974. However, continued the court, even assuming that AMTRAK had jurisdiction to prevent abandonment of the hotel, AMTRAK is not a Federal agency for purposes of NHPA and NEPA, but rather a private corporation under the terms of its enabling statute. Id. at 974-75. Because there was no Federal agency involved, neither NHPA nor NEPA was applicable. The court denied the motion for injunction pending appeal. Id. at 975.

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