Back to Sears Island Litigation
Sears Island Federal Court Cases 1985-1992
Sierra Club of New England waged a seven year struggle in federal court in the mid 1980s and early '90s to keep Sears Island free of development. Read the amazing legal decisions that the Sierra Club achieved in those years - before the New England Sierra Club broke up into Maine, NH and Massachusetts chapters in 2000.
1985 Sierra Club v. Marsh, 769 F.2d 868 (1st Cir. 1985)
"In sum, given the likely secondary effects of the Sears Island project and the other effects previously described, the record in this case cannot support a FONSI, and therefore an EIS must be prepared. We reach this conclusion not because preparation of an EIS is merely a technical requirement which, under NEPA and its implementing regulations, we must here enforce. Rather, this requirement reflects NEPA's underlying purpose in requiring agencies to determine and assess environmental effects in a systematic way--namely, having decisionmakers focus on these effects when they make major decisions. That is to say, the requirement flows not only from the letter, but also from the spirit, of NEPA."
1985 Sierra Club v. Secretary of Transportation. 779 F.2d 776 (1st Cir
Maine DOT appealed a ruling by the US District Court for Maine in favor of the Sierra Club, holding that the Coast Guard had arbitrarily and capriciously issued a permit for the construction of a "bridge" between Kidder Point, Maine, and Sears Island, Maine. The Court of Appeals here upholds the permit revocation, writing:
"The arbitrary and capricious action of the Coast Guard in allowing Maine DOT to submit an application for a causeway as if it were an application for a bridge and approving such application by itself treating the structure as a bridge is sufficient to justify the revocation of the permit."
1987 1987 Sierra Club v. Secretary of Army 820 F.2d 513
Circuit Court of appeals rejects appeal by government of attorneys fees awarded to Sierra Club from Sears Island causeway case.
1989 Sierra Club v. Marsh 872 F.2d 497
"The Sierra Club asked the district court to enjoin both the federal and state agencies from continuing to build the causeway or otherwise work upon the Sears Island project while the court considered the merits of its various, rather complex objections...The federal district court denied the Sierra Club's request for a preliminary injunction. The determination of the district court not to issue the preliminary injunction is vacated and this case is remanded for further proceedings..."
1990 Sierra Club v. Marsh, 907 F.2d 210 (1st Cir. 1990)
"Construction of the project remains at a standstill pending full NEPA compliance. The November 1 order neither modified nor continued the injunction in any jurisdictionally significant respect....We need go no further. In the present posture of the case, an interlocutory appeal will not lie. The Club, yearning for the blossom when only the bud is ready, has come to us prematurely...The appeal is dismissed for want of appellate jurisdiction. Costs in favor of appellees.
1992 Sierra Club v. Marsh, 976 F.2d 763 (1st Cir. 1992)
"Sierra Club challenges the district court's conclusion that the analysis of secondary impacts in the agencies' final EIS satisfies NEPA. We affirm."