Press Release | September 11, 2015

Statement on Two Court Decisions Regarding the Proposed Garden Parkway and Monroe Bypass

Chapel Hill, N.C.- Below is a brief statement by Kym Hunter, attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center regarding two court orders issued yesterday by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina regarding two Charlotte-area highway projects–the proposed Garden Parkway (case number 5:15-CV-29-D) and Monroe Bypass (case number 5:14-CV 863-D). The court orders in the two cases can be downloaded at: https://southernenvironment.sharefile.com/d-sba92fae99e8406e8

“Yesterday a federal Judge underscored his earlier ruling that the North Carolina Department of Transportation violated federal law in their environmental review of the $900 million Garden Parkway.  The ruling comes as supporters are attempting to revive the destructive toll highway which has been stripped of its earmarked funding source by the legislature. 

“In March 2015, Judge James Dever III invalidated NCDOT's analysis because the agency “made an unsupported assumption that growth in the [Charlotte] region would remain constant regardless of whether the Garden Parkway was built.”  NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration asked Judge Dever to reconsider his opinion, explaining that the agencies commonly use the same flawed logic to assess highway projects throughout the nation.   Yesterday Judge Dever rejected their plea in a move that may have implications not only for the future of the Garden Parkway, but for over 100 highway projects nationally, including several in North Carolina.

“We were disappointed in Judge Dever's ruling with regard to the Monroe Bypass.  We are currently discussing an appeal of that case to the Fourth Circuit with our clients.  After Judge Dever ruled in NCDOT's favor with regard to the Monroe Bypass in 2011, the opinion was later overturned by the Fourth Circuit in May, 2012. The Fourth Circuit found that NCDOT had failed to provide necessary and full information to the public about the proposed Monroe Bypass.”

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About the Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org

Press Contacts

Kathleen Sullivan

Senior Communications Manager (NC)

Phone: 919-967-1450
Email: ksullivan@selcnc.org