MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff has filed a motion to require compliance with the Court's previous judgment in this action entered on February 21, 1975. In that order, the Court enjoined defendant Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) from holding any administrative hearings on the merits of defendant-intervenor Amoskeag's application
until the ICC had (1) promulgated valid regulations for the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321, et seq., and (2) prepared, circulated and obtained public comment on a draft environmental impact statement compiled in accordance with valid NEPA regulations. Maine Central Railroad Company v. ICC, 410 F. Supp. 653 (D.D.C. 1975).
This is the fourth time that these parties have sought a ruling from the Court on this matter. In a previous order entered February 14, 1977 and clarified on March 24, 1977, the Court found, and plaintiff admitted, that valid environmental regulations had been established, but that the ICC had failed to comply with both the letter and the spirit of those regulations and this Court's order when it waived the requirement that Amoskeag submit a detailed environmental impact report (DEIR) for the ICC staff's use in preparing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
Pursuant to that order, the ICC ordered Amoskeag to prepare and file a DEIR which was completed May 16, 1977. Plaintiff then moved to strike. Plaintiff's motion was denied and the ICC staff prepared a revised DEIS.
Plaintiff contends that the ICC has not fulfilled the terms of the injunction in that the DEIS is superficial and consists of the blanket acceptance of Amoskeag's conclusory legal arguments contained in the DEIR that no environmental impact is involved in its proposals. Additionally, plaintiff alleges that the ICC is remiss in failing to seek this Court's determination that the outstanding injunction has been satisfied prior to holding its hearings.
In their respective memoranda in opposition to plaintiff's motion, the ICC and Amoskeag submit that all conditions of the Court's judgment have been met; that the ICC has in good faith complied with the letter and the spirit of its regulations; that it was not a requirement that they return to this Court upon compliance; and that plaintiff is seeking merely to further delay the start of the ICC hearings. Furthermore, they contend that the proper forum for plaintiff to attack the adequacy of the DEIR is at the hearing before the ICC, and not in this Court at this time.
The Court is concerned that plaintiff's rights are protected and the intent behind NEPA preserved. It has carefully considered the various papers submitted by all parties and the entire record herein. Based thereon, the Court concludes that its prior orders have been satisfied and there is nothing further before this Court. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion is denied.
In so ruling, the Court is mindful of the scope of this action as originally defined by plaintiff in its complaint and motion for injunctive relief. All that is presently before this Court is whether the revised DEIS recently prepared and circulated by the ICC staff following Amoskeag's submission of a DEIR constitutes compliance with the Court's prior order, thereby permitting the administrative hearings on the merits of Amoskeag's application to proceed without further delay.
Additionally, there are limitations as to the Court's role in this matter which have recently been enunciated by the Supreme Court in Kleppe v. Sierra Club, 427 U.S. 390, 410, 49 L. Ed. 2d 576, 96 S. Ct. 2718 n.21 (1976):
Neither the statute nor its legislative history contemplates that a court should substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the environmental consequences of its actions. (Citation omitted). The only role for a court is to insure that the agency has taken a "hard look" at environmental consequences; it cannot "interject itself within the area of discretion of the executive as to the choice of the action to be taken."