Pennsylvania. In addition, if defendants are correct on the merits, there will be no violation of federal statutes in this case, and the per se argument will not apply. However, there is case law finding that environmental damage constitutes irreparable injury, so that this part of the Virginia Petroleum Jobbers test inclines toward plaintiffs. Even so, there is merit to defendants' contention that there will not be irreparable harm to plaintiffs because the portion of the line under review is currently an operating freight line. There is no question, however, that the light rail line will increase traffic on the existing right of way enormously; plaintiffs' estimate is an increase of 21,000%. But defendants' point that the line will not be destroying virgin forests is a good one, since the installation of the line will not use park land beyond the right of way, and will not alter the characteristic use of the land involved. Furthermore, in balancing the equities in this case, it is appropriate for the Court to consider the attempts at mitigation which Maryland will undertake pursuant to the State EIS, including attempts to minimize noise and disruption of the park. Cf. East 63rd Street Assoc. v. Coleman, 414 F. Supp. 1318, 1330 (S.D.N.Y. 1976). Therefore, although the equities of this prong of the test incline toward plaintiffs, the issue of irreparable injury is not clear cut.
(3) Harm to Others.
It is clear that enjoining construction of the light rail system would harm those citizens of Maryland who would use the system if it were built. The State of Maryland argues that it would be harmed as well because it has already entered into a number of contracts for the line; the cost of suspending these contract for as little as six months is estimated to be $ 14.5 million. Delays associated with an attempt to comply with NEPA would increase the cost of the project considerably. Defendants have clearly demonstrated that there would be harm to others if an injunction were to issue.
(4) The Public Interest.
There is a substantial public interest in the construction of mass transit systems designed to ease the burden on overcrowded local roadways. The State of Maryland has submitted substantial documentation relating to projected population growth in the Baltimore metropolitan area over the next several years, and the consequent need for alternatives to automobiles for commuting, shopping, and access to the governmental, civic and artistic resources of the city.
There is a competing public interest in the enforcement of environmental protection laws, and in the interests those laws were designed to protect. But the analysis under Taxpayers Watchdog indicates that there is, at the least, a possibility that federal environmental laws do not apply to this project, while Maryland requirements have already been met. Thus, the plaintiffs have not shown that the public interest favors an injunction.
For the reasons stated above, the Court concludes that plaintiffs have not met the burden of showing that they merit the extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunctive relief. Accordingly, the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.
The Court believes it is in the interest of all parties to put this case on a reasonably fast track to final resolution. Therefore, it is ORDERED
(1) that the parties shall submit dispositive motions to be filed with the Court within two weeks of the date of this Order, i.e., by June 14, 1989.
(2) Oppositions are to be filed by June 23, 1989.
(3) Replies are to be filed by June 30, 1989. Oral argument will not be scheduled.
DATED May 31, 1989
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