My colleague David Washburn just got a call from the Navy wishing to respond to his story today on what the judge’s recent ruling means for the future of the controversial development at Navy Broadway Complex.

This was the crux of Washburn’s story:

The decision by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller requires that the Navy show its plans to the public and allow for input on how the project will impact its surrounding environment. But, lawyers on both sides say, the impact of the ruling will largely depend on how the Navy interprets it.

If the Navy sees the ruling as a mandate to complete a new environmental assessment on the project, it could lead to a more in-depth study, known as an environmental impact statement. If that becomes the case, then public input could significantly change the scope of the project, said Cory Briggs, a lawyer for San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, a group of activists opposing the project.

But Washburn’s in Missouri celebrating the Fourth of July, so Navy spokesman Matt Brown forwarded this response to me via e-mail:

The Navy will comply fully with the Federal District Court’s June 26, 2008, decision regarding the National Environmental Policy Act. The Navy will provide the public further opportunities to weigh in with their views on environmental considerations relating to the redevelopment of the Navy Broadway Complex and thus assure informed federal decision making on this important project.

I followed up with Brown because his response didn’t specifically address how far the Navy would go. Would it see the ruling as a mandate to complete a new environmental assessment?

Brown said that will depend on what they hear from the public.

“I can’t tell you really what’s going to happen because we haven’t taken those comments,” he said.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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