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Court Issues Rulings On Fort Ritchie Conveyance

WASHINGTON (CN) - In separate rulings over the government's decision to transfer a closed Army base in northern Maryland to a development company, the D.C. Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought by Role Models America and revived the claims of two individuals who challenged the transfer on environmental grounds.

Role Models sued to stop the Secretary of the Army from conveying Fort Ritchie to PenMar Development Company of Maryland because it wants to use the base as a school for at-risk kids.

The circuit previously ruled that the government failed to give proper notice about the Fort Ritchie property and enjoined the conveyance until defendants notified "other interested parties."

Role Models then applied for the property, unsuccessfully. It now lacks standing to appeal the rejection, the court ruled.

The second ruling also hinged on standing, but this time the court held that Jim Lemon and Robin Biser have standing to challenge the conveyance under the National Environmental Policy Act. Plaintiffs, who live near Fort Ritchie, claimed the government failed to prepare an adequate environmental impact statement. Had it done so, the Army might have changed its mind on how to get rid of the base, the court concluded. See ruling.

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