A federal judge has ruled that a group supporting the Ohio River Bridges Project can intervene in the lawsuit between the conservation group River Fields and the Federal Highway Administration.
In May, Kentuckians for Progress filed a request to join the suit against the federal government as co-defendants to challenge River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who filed the suit two years ago.
Preservationists claim the federal agency couldn’t justify portions of the bridges project, relied on misleading information, failed to adequately consider potential impacts and did not prepare an updated environmental report.
On September 12, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn III found that KFP has a “legitimate interest” in the case which could “be beneficial if this litigation would proceed beyond its current stage.” The ruling was made over strenuous objections by attorneys for the plaintiffs, who argued for the past four months that Kentuckians for Progress had no legal interest in the matter.
Attorney Vic Maddox, who represents Kentuckians for Progress, says the ruling now gives them the rights and privileges of the other defendants to pursue a dismissal of the case.
“Now we will be able to participate presumably in the confidential mediation sessions and anything else that takes place in court,” he says. “With that Kentuckians for Progress has the right to pursue the remedies that any defendant would have, including a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which is something we intend to pursue.”