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Pennsylvania Private Prison Construction Halted For Environmental Assessment

The Pennsylvania based Citizens Advisory Committee on Private Prisons, Inc. (CACOPP), filed a complaint against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for bypassing environmental and administrative policies in the contracting of a private prison's construction. The construction was halted pending the requisite procedural compliance.

The BOP contracted the building of a private prison in Clearfield County in 1999 with Cornell Corrections, Inc. (Cornell), to house over 1,000 federal prisoners. A 10 year deal for operating the facility, along with requisite infrastructure upgrades to the site's area, would award Cornell $342,699,498. The deal was implemented by the BOP without adherence to provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Council on Environmental Quality requires that the NEPA provisions be implemented for the determination of the environmental impact on the area before such construction. These determinations include wildlife considerations, farm quality land usage, utilities' availability, population growth and the stress on society. The APA enforces these provisions.

The CACOPP filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania for injunctive and declaratory relief to halt the construction pending such provisional considerations. The BOP agreed to stop the construction until such compliance was satisfied and to pay the CACOPP"s attorney fees of $40,000 for the litigation. See: Citizens Advisory Committee on Private Prisons, Inc. v. United States, USDC, W.D. Penn., Case No. 99 112J (July 22, 2002).

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Related legal case

Citizens Advisory Committee on Private Prisons, Inc. v. United States

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