by Max Brantley
It's going to be awhile before Commodore Hays and the Bass Pro Shops boys start pouring concrete to fill the Dark Hollow wetlands for a taxpayer-subsidized, competition-killing sporting good store.
Why is that you ask?
Because Federal Judge William R. Wilson Jr. agreed today with plaintiffs in a lawsuit saying the shopping center project must first do an environmental impact study. Here's the opinion. You may remember that the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service both had said The Shoppes at North Hills would have substantial and unacceptable impact on the area, but the ever-friendly Corps of Engineers said, more or less, "keep busy." The Corps decided, despite wetland impact, difficult highway access, the availability of alternative sites and other issues, that the impact wasn't sufficient to require a full environmental study. The judge focused particularly on difficult highway access, the impact of road construction and large questions about money for the work.
The judge enjoined construction until completion of a full environmental impact statement.