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MISSOURI EX REL. MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS METRO. AIRPORT

February 8, 1977

THE STATE OF MISSOURI EX REL. THE MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS METROPOLITAN AIRPORT AUTHORITY, ET AL., Plainitffs
v.
WILLIAM T. COLEMAN, JR., Secretary of Transportation of the United States, Defendants


Robinson, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON

ROBINSON, District Judge:

The issue in this case is whether the Secretary of Transportation exceeded his statutory authority or acted arbitrarily and capriciously in approving on September 1, 1976, subject to a number of conditions and limitations, an application for federal funds to acquire land for an airport in the area of Columbia-Waterloo, Illinois. Plaintiffs and intervening plaintiffs include the State of Missouri, United States Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties, and numerous municipalities in Missouri (the "Missouri Parties"). *fn1" Defendant and intervening defendant are Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr. (the "Secretary") and the St. Louis Metropolitan Area Airport Authority ("SMAAA").

 On November 17, 1976, this Court denied Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction and imposed a stay on discovery. The matter is presently before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and on Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery and Deferral of Consideration of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Temporary Restraining Order, and Preliminary Injunction, and in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

 The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, located in St. Louis County, Missouri, is currently the major air carrier airport for the St. Louis Metropolitan area. In 1968, the Federal Aviation Agency recognized, in the National Airport System Plan, the need for additional commercial aviation capacity beyond that provided by Lambert Field in order to adequately serve the St. Louis metropolitan area in the foreseeable future.

 In 1974, federal funds were awarded under the FAA's Planning Grant Program to Lambert Field authorities to conduct a master planning study of Lambert Airport to determine its potential to meet the region's future air carrier airport needs. The terms of the grant restricted examination of Lambert's future capacity to the year 1995. The first phases of this study, by the Ralph M. Parsons Company/Gruen Associates ("Parsons"), were completed in January 1975. *fn2" In order to compare the alternatives of remaining at an expanded Lambert Field or transferring to Columbia-Waterloo, the Department of Transportation commissioned a study by Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company ("PMM"), which was completed in November 1975. This study was restricted to an examination of Lambert's capacity up to the year 2000 with no consideration accorded replacement sites other than Columbia-Waterloo and with no consideration given to possible improvements in air traffic control technology and procedures. *fn3"

 On January 13, 1976, Secretary Coleman held a public hearing in St. Louis to discuss the Illinois application for project assistance. At the public hearing, representatives of State and local government (including some of the plaintiffs here), *fn4" the business community, civic groups and other elected officials and interested citizens addressed a series of issues relevant to the Illinois application. Written presentations were submitted to the public docket, which remained open until January 30, 1976. Each side was then given until February 9, 1976, to respond to the written submissions of the other side. After February 9, 1976, the Secretary received correspondence on the application, which became a part of the public file.

 On September 1, 1976, Secretary Coleman released a Final Environmental Impact Statement. He also released a detailed written decision approving the Illinois application for a grant for land acquisition for a new major air carrier airport at the Columbia-Waterloo site.

 Plaintiffs challenge the Secretary's decision on two general grounds, attacking the administrative procedure that produced the decision as well as the statutory base upon which the Secretary's actions are premised. Plaintiffs claim that the Secretary did not act upon a complete and proper administrative record and that his decision consequently is arbitrary and capricious. They contend that the basis of the Secretary's decision was limited by restrictions imposed upon the Lambert Field studies and by mistaken interpretations of the data which was available. Thus Plaintiffs ask that either they be allowed to conduct discovery in this litigation to explicate these alleged gaps in the administrative record, or in the alternative that the matter be remanded to the Secretary in order that he might reconsider his decision in light of these alleged deficiencies in the record.

 Plaintiffs also contend that the Secretary disregarded a series of statutory and regulatory provisions which Plaintiffs say are designed to ensure consideration of, and in some instances, deference to local views on airport matters. Plaintiffs assert that the Secretary's actions are violative of the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, as amended (the "ADAP Act"), *fn5" the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") *fn6" and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-95 ("OMB Circular A-95"). *fn7" Relying upon these contentions Plaintiffs ask for a preliminary injunction staying the Secretary's decisions and for Summary Judgment in their favor.

 Defendants respond to the arguments of Plaintiffs by contending that mere disagreement with the Secretary's decision is insufficient to invalidate that decision; that the record upon which the Secretary's decision is based is complete and sufficient to support the Secretary's judgment; that the actions of the Secretary cannot be termed arbitrary and capricious; that the Secretary acted within his statutory authority in approving the Illinois application; and that there exists no genuine issue of material fact which would preclude the Court from granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. For the reasons discussed below, this Court agrees with Defendant's position.

 It is important to the resolution of the issues posed in this litigation to set out the scope of review under which the Court must decide the issues. Simply stated, the standard of review as set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act 5 U.S.C. ยง 706(2)(A)(1970), requires that the ". . . reviewing Court shall --

 
(2) hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings and conclusions found to be --
 
(A) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in ...

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