NEPA and the “strange case of Maryland’s Purple Line project”
Excerpting from am article in Governing, “What Judges Don’t Understand About Transportation”:
“NEPA [the National Environmental Policy Act] was enacted in 1970, at a moment when environmental activists were giddily enthusiastic about their ability to produce a cleaner planet through federal regulation… It wasn’t meant to be a statement of transportation policy, and for most of its early history it wasn’t that… And so we come to 2017, and the strange case of Maryland’s Purple Line project…
“The whole case provides glaring evidence of how years and millions of dollars can be wasted arguing about projections that can’t possibly be made with even a shred of confidence… Whether or not to build the Purple Line is a question for the democratic process — for the citizens we elect as legislators and appoint as managers. Reasonable people will differ on it. But when a judge hijacks the whole issue and issues rulings on spurious legal grounds, he undermines public trust in the judicial system.”
Read the full article at http://www.governing.com/columns/assessments/gov-transportation-judges.html.
P.S. Author Alan Ehrenhalt’s analysis in Governing could equally apply to Judge Terrance McGann’s ruling striking down Montgomery County’s Healthy Lawns Act restrictions on cosmetic lawncare pesticide application.