Freeway Green Light Over Truckee Wetlands

A Washoe County environmental group has failed in its effort to delay a six-lane highway project over Truckee Meadows wetlands near Reno in the group’s effort to pursue environmental damage claims.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to impose a preliminary injunction against the project earlier this week, upholding a similar order by a Sacramento federal judge.

The Upper South East Community Coalition argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it issued a wetlands permit for the project.

The group contends the corps failed to prepare an environmental impact statement for the massive road project, roughly 4.5 miles long, and violated regulations that it notify the public when it issued the less stringent environmental statement.

The coalition contended that the corps failed to rebut the presumption under the Clean Water Act that there are less environmentally damaging ways to reduce traffic congestion in the region than building the highway through a floodplain and meadows.

The trial judge refused to issue the injunction to stop the project while the issue was hashed out.  The group appealed and the 9th Circuit rejected the claims in a non-precedential ruling Monday, sending the case back to the lower court.

Case:  Upper South East Communities Coalition v. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 15-16205



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