Environmental advocate seeks to stop the Burnt Mill Bridge project

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Nov 8, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — A nonprofit environmental organization is suing state and federal government agencies, citing alleged breach of duty.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, filed a complaint on Oct. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administrator Gregort G. Nadeau; the Federal Highway Administration; and Leslie Richards, alleging violation of the National Environmental Policy Act because of a determination that was arbitrary, capricious or otherwise not in accordance with law.

According to the complaint, plaintiffs seek to declare defendants' decision to destroy the Burnt Mill Bridge project is not properly documented or supported by the administrative period, violating the National Environmental Policy Act. 

Plaintiffs claim defendant did not comply with a section of the Department of Transportation Act by allegedly allowing Burnt Mill Bridge to deteriorate and by making a decision to destroy the bridge with plans to replace it with a new, two-lane concrete structure. 

The plaintiffs hold them responsible because the defendants allegedly relied on a purpose and need determination that is verifiably false with inaccurate data regarding the safety and geometric design of the bridge and decision to proceed with its Level 2 Categorical Exclusion is unlawful.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek declaratory judgment, award of attorneys' fees, expert fees, and any other relief that the court deems appropriate. They are represented by Aaron Stemplewicz of Delaware Riverkeeper Network in Bristol.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 2:18-cv-04508-GEKP.

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Pennsylvania Department of Transportation U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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