A federal court in Washington state has dismissed a challenge to the environmental impact statement (EIS ) prepared by the state department of transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for a $586.5-million project that would replace a floating bridge connecting Seattle to its eastern suburbs. Coal. for a Sustainable 520 v. DOT, No. 11-1461 (W.D. Wash. 7/25/12). Plaintiff argued that the two agencies had not considered alternatives to the preferred choice of a six-lane pontoon bridge that includes a transit/high occupancy vehicle lane in each direction. According to the plaintiff, the final EIS , which compared only four-lane and six-lane alternatives and a no-build option, failed “to consider all reasonable alternatives in detail” in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NE PA).  

Rejecting plaintiff’s arguments, the court said that the coalition was upset about the impact of the replacement bridge on the environment but had failed to demonstrate that the agencies have not “taken the requisite ‘hard look’ at the environmental consequences” of the project. On cross motions for summary judgment, the court ruled that the EIS fulfilled “both the letter and the spirit of NE PA” and dismissed the case.